Jemile Weeks entered last season as the Athletics’ starting second baseman, but a sophomore slump resulted in a demotion in August and being left off the postseason roster. But he’ll have a chance at redemption in 2013.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Weeks and Scott Sizemore will be part of what Athletics manager Bob Melvin has called an “open competition” at second base.
“I think it’s going to be a nice competition over there,” Melvin said. “Just because someone starts there Opening Day doesn’t mean someone else might not be there the next day based on a matchup.”
Adam Rosales and prospect Grant Green will also get looks during spring training, but Weeks and Sizemore are considered the favorites for the gig. Sizemore is coming off a lost season of his own, as he missed all of 2012 following surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. He will also get playing time at third base during Cactus League play, but Josh Donaldson is expected to enter spring training with a job to lose.
After batting .303/.340/.421 with two homers, 22 stolen bases and a .761 OPS in 97 games as a rookie in 2011, Weeks delivered a disappointing .221/.305/.304 batting line in 118 games with the A’s last year. While the 26-year-old didn’t hit as many line drives last year, his .254 batting average on balls in play was incredibly low for someone with his speed. If he can make the proper adjustments and have some better luck, a rebound season could be in the cards.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.