Cubs prospect shortstop Javier Baez did something with High-A Daytona tonight which has only happened 16 times in a major league game: He slugged four home runs.
Baez connected for a two-run homer in the first inning, a solo shot in the third, a three-run blast in the fifth and another solo homer in his final at-bat in the seventh. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com notes that Baez is the second player in Florida State League history to hit four home runs in one game. Former Cubs prospect Ryan Harvey (2006) is the other. Of course, he never made it to the major leagues.
Baez, a first-round pick of the Cubs in 2011, was ranked as the No. 13 prospect by Baseball America this spring. The 20-year-old shortstop has tons of offensive potential, but his plate discipline needs work and he’s still a little rough around the edges defensively. He committed his 26th error of the season tonight.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.