Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa involved in “open competition” at second base for the Nationals

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Danny Espinosa didn’t exactly have a great 2013 season. Due largely to playing with a fractured wrist, Espinosa posted a .465 OPS, resulting in a stint on the disabled list and a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. Anthony Rendon took over and was more or less average offensively with some hiccups on defense. Nonetheless, an upgrade.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, Espinosa asked new manager Matt Williams for a chance to win back his job at second base. As a result, Williams is holding an “open competition” at second base between Espinosa and Rendon during spring training.

“I believe it’s open competition,” Williams said. “And that’s all you can say about it at this point. They haven’t even taken their first grounder officially yet. But I think that it’s good to have competition in spring. It makes guys come into camp ready … There’s no favorite at this point. We’re going to give them both ample opportunity to become the starter, and we’ll see where we go.”

Despite what Williams said, one would have to consider Espinosa the underdog. In the event Rendon remains the starter, Espinosa could serve in a utility role, backing up at second base, third base, and shortstop.

Second base is one of the only areas still up in the air for the Nats. The #5 spot in the rotation will see some competition between Tanner Roark, Ross Detwiler, and Taylor Jordan. Otherwise, you can write just about everyone else in pen.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.