After re-signing with the Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew went 1-for-14 and then injured his oblique muscle, but the other Scott Boras client who sat out the first two months of the season before finally signing, Kendrys Morales, is showing zero signs of rust.
Morales agreed to a one-year, $7.6 million deal with the Twins on Saturday, was immediately added to the active roster without first going on a minor-league rehab assignment, and is now 6-for-12 with three doubles through three games (with another at-bat likely still this afternoon).
Minnesota already had a pretty good designated hitter option in Josmil Pinto, but manager Ron Gardenhire was hesitant to use him at DH regularly because the 25-year-old rookie is also the Twins’ backup catcher. Now that Morales is the full-time DH it sounds like Pinto will be headed back to Triple-A. And so far at least no one minds, because Morales is hitting .500 and clearing the bases with game-breaking doubles.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.