UPDATE: Good news for the Yankees. Chad Jennings of the Journal News reports that X-rays came back negative on Gardner’s hand. He’s not in the lineup today, but is available off the bench.
10:04 a.m. ET: According to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com, Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner may go for precautionary X-rays after he was hit on the right hand with a pitch in the third inning of last night’s loss to the Rays.
It’s worth noting that Gardner remained in the game and later tripled and singled. While the speedy outfielder doesn’t appear too concerned, the Yankees would prefer that he goes for tests.
“It’s not that bad,” he said. “So I’m not too worried about it.”
Gardner is batting .269/.337/.406 with eight home runs, 43 RBI and 22 stolen bases over 126 games this season while playing exclusively in center field. The Yankees can’t afford to lose him as they attempt to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.