Reds first baseman Joey Votto last made an out in the eighth inning on Thursday in the series finale against the Cardinals. Since then, he has gone 4-for-4 with five walks in nine trips to the plate against Dodger pitchers.
Last night, in a 3-2 victory, Votto drew a walk off of Chris Capuano, singled off of Stephen Fife, drove a two-run home run to the opposite field against J.P. Howell, and drew a walk against Paco Rodriguez.
Today, in a 4-3 extra-innings victory, Votto singled, doubled, and drew a walk off of Zack Greinke, then was intentionally walked once each by Rodriguez and Howell.
Ted Williams holds the official modern era record having reached base in 16 consecutive plate appearances from September 17-23, 1957. He walked nine times (once intentionally), was hit by a pitch, singled twice, and hit four home runs. While we shouldn’t hold our breath expecting Votto to reach base in seven more consecutive plate appearances, that he is more than halfway there is impressive in and of itself. Mike Trout reached base in 10 consecutive at-bats earlier this season against the Rangers, reaching base six times on July 29 and four times on July 30.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.