Assuming the Yankees don’t make a run at the postseason, Mariano Rivera’s Hall of Fame career will come to an end September 27-29 against the Astros in Houston. And a familiar face will be there to pay tribute to the all-time saves leader.
According to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle, Roger Clemens has agreed to be a part of a pre-game ceremony for his former teammate. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has a personal services contract with the Astros and served as an instructor during spring training earlier this year. Each team has given Rivera a special present as he makes his farewell tour around the majors and the Astros and Clemens plan to do the same.
Rivera and Clemens were teammates with the Yankees from 1999-2003, winning two World Series titles. Rivera notched the save in Clemens’ 300th career victory on June 13, 2003.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.