Dusty Baker on unemployment: “It still hurts some”

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Dusty Baker tried to land a managing gig for this season after being fired by the Reds, but the Nationals and several other teams weren’t interested and now the three-time Manager of the Year is sitting at home in California instead of going to spring training.

Baker talked to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com about what he’s been up to:

Hey, life goes on. I’m spending time with my son. It’s been nice watching him play basketball and now he’s getting ready for baseball. I’ve had eight months worth of honey-dos to make up. I’m trying not to think about baseball. It still hurts some. You find other avenues for the time. It’s still the offseason for me. I have no problems staying busy. If I have nothing, I make up something to do. My wife says I have eight part-time jobs. But none of them are paying, yet.

I like to imagine Baker walking around the house, tinkering with stuff from that honey-do list as his trademark toothpick dangles from his mouth. And it seems likely that he’ll be a popular midseason replacement candidate for any manager of contending teams that get off to rough starts.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run

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Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.

Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.

Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Chris Sale’s streak of starts with at least 10 strikeouts ends

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.

After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.

Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.