Chris Nelson hit two home runs and drove in five, proving to be the difference as the Angels defeated the Yankees this afternoon. Nelson took Yankees starter Phil Hughes deep for a solo shot to right-center in the fourth inning, boosting the Angel lead to 3-1. In the eighth against lefty reliever Boone Logan with his team leading 4-1, Nelson put the proverbial nail in the coffin, hitting a grand slam to left field. The Yankees rallied in the bottom of the ninth, scoring three runs, but the added insurance provided by Nelson’s grand slam was the margin of victory as the Angels won 8-4.
The home runs were Nelson’s first and second of the season as he has had a rather bumpy road. Nelson initially started the season as the third baseman for the Rockies, but was quickly displaced by Nolan Arenado. The Rockies traded him to the Yankees on May 1 for a player to be named later. Nelson posted a paltry .521 OPS in ten games with the Yankees, so they put him on waivers. He was selected by the Angels on May 18. Prior to this afternoon, Nelson had compiled a .630 OPS with the Halos after spending time between June 17 and July 30 with Triple-A Salt Lake.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
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.
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.