You’re probably not going to see a prettier grand slam this season, folks. With his team down 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning against Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez, Braves left fielder Justin Upton crushed a 1-1 fastball deep to left field to give the Braves a 6-4 lead. ESPN Stats & Info reported it at 461 feet, his longest home run as a Brave.
Upton had been slumping, hitting zero home runs with a .652 OPS between April 28 and May 12. He appears to have broken out of it as he went 4-for-5 with a tape-measure homer against the Diamondbacks on Monday and drove in five runs tonight against the Dodgers. Upton now has a league-leading 14 home runs and 28 RBI on the season.
Watch the grand salami:
The Braves went on to win 8-5, improving their record to 23-18 and helping them maintain their place atop the NL East.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.