This ultra-active day on the hot stove continues.
According to beat writer Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are “closing in on” a two-year contract with free agent first baseman Justin Morneau. No word yet on the financial terms.
Morneau struggled mightily throughout the 2013 season, batting .259 with a .741 OPS in 127 games with the Twins and then .260 with a .681 OPS in 25 games with the Pirates after a late-summer trade. The Rockies will hope that the 32-year-old can return to his old offensive form and serve as a productive replacement for Todd Helton, who retired at the end of the regular season. Michael Cuddyer will presumably stay in right field, where he played 113 games in 2013.
UPDATE, 10:53 p.m. ET: The two sides have officially agreed to terms, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Morneau’s two-year contract with the Rockies will be worth about $13 million total.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.