The Phillies, in a bit of a roster conundrum with the latest rash of injuries, have outrighted infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Frandsen has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. Zolecki adds that GM Ruben Amaro told Frandsen he still has a chance to make the Opening Day roster.
“We’re in a situation now with many of the injuries that have happened and the things that have occurred this spring to try and create some roster space for us,” Amaro said. “That’s what we’ve done. We still think he can be a valuable part of our club. But he’s competing. Just like he was before, he continues to compete for a job on the bench.”
Infielder Freddy Galvis recently came down with MRSA and will be out indefinitely, while Darin Ruf suffered a strained left oblique and could miss all of April. The Phillies would be considering adding some combination of Cesar Hernandez and non-roster invitees Ronny Cedeno and Reid Brignac.
The decision is particularly interesting because Amaro gave guaranteed contracts to Frandsen ($900,000) and John Mayberry, Jr. ($1,587,500) after avoiding arbitration. Contracts signed to avoid arbitration are usually non-guaranteed, so Amaro going out of his way to offer guaranteed contracts seemed to indicate Frandsen and Mayberry’s spots on the roster were assured. Mayberry has reportedly been made available via trade.
In 2012, Frandsen was one of the best pinch-hitters in the game, hitting .338 in 210 plate appearances. He regressed in 2013, finishing with a .234 average in 278 PA.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final seven Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.