Texas’ never-ending roster shuffling continues, as the Rangers have activated catcher Geovany Soto from the disabled list, called up catcher/first baseman J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A, and designated first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment.
Soto has missed the entire season following spring training knee surgery, but now figures to get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate over Robinson Chirinos.
Arencibia has been a career-long catcher, except he was horrible defensively and of late the Rangers have been using him as a first baseman at Triple-A. Which is fine, except he’s also a terrible hitter. He has 20-homer power, but Arencibia has hit .208 with a ghastly .255 on-base percentage and .655 OPS in 400 games through age 28, posting a hideous 415/77 K/BB ratio.
Pena was signed to a minor-league deal and then quickly promoted to the majors last month, but he hit .136 in 18 games and may simply be finished at age 36. Arencibia will presumably replace him in the lineup, but Arencibia as a regular first baseman could be one of the worst players in the league.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.