Joe Saunders talked himself back into the Rangers’ rotation last month following an injury, saying that he didn’t want to take on a bullpen role, but after going 0-5 with a 6.18 ERA in eight starts overall this season Texas has designated the left-hander for assignment.
Saunders was once a decent back-of-the-r0tation starter for the Angels and Diamondbacks, but he’s now 11-21 with a 5.42 ERA in 40 starts since the beginning of last season and coughed up four homers last night against the Orioles.
Given his platoon splits and overall ineffectiveness as a starter switching from the rotation to the bullpen could potentially prolong Saunders’ career, so it’ll be interesting to see if getting let go by the Rangers helps him recognize that at age 33.
In the meantime right-hander Miles Mikolas has been called up from Triple-A to take Saunders’ spot in the rotation and will start Wednesday.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.