Erick Aybar is now a teammate of Justin Verlander‘s, as the Tigers acquired the infielder from the Braves on Tuesday night in exchange for Mike Aviles and a minor league catcher.
That’s notable because, five years ago when he was with the Angels, Erick Aybar disrupted Verlander’s attempt to complete his third career no-hitter by dropping down a bunt in the eighth inning. Verlander fielded the ball cleanly, but made a wild throw to first base, allowing Aybar to move to second base. The right-hander was charged with an error, but would allow an RBI single to Maicer Izturis later in the inning to break up the no-hitter. The Tigers would hold on to win 3-2 and Verlander got the win that afternoon.
Verlander wasn’t happy about Aybar’s bunt, calling it “bush league,” as Chris Iott of Mlive.com reported at the time. In baseball’s “unwritten rules,” many feel that it’s disrespectful for a hitter to bunt for a hit when a pitcher is working on a no-hitter.
Verlander still remembers that bunt, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports. The veteran starter said, “I haven’t hit him like I said I would, so at least that’s a good thing when he gets to the clubhouse.”
ESPN’s Katie Strang quoted Verlander as calling Aybar’s bunt “water under the bridge.” He said, “Everything changes when a guy becomes your teammate.”
Outfielder Jayson Werth dunked a single into shallow center field at Coors Field on Tuesday evening, marking the 44th consecutive game in which he’s reached base safely. That sets a new Nationals record, surpassing Ryan Zimmerman, who reached base in 43 straight games in 2009.
The all-time record is held by Ted Williams, who reached in 84 consecutive games with the Red Sox in 1949. The National League record is held by George Van Haltren, who reached base in 60 straight games with the Pirates in 1893.
Werth, who told critics earlier this season to “kiss my ass,” entered Tuesday’s action batting .255/.345/.445 with 16 home runs and 53 RBI in 440 plate appearances. In his previous 43 games entering Tuesday night, he was hitting .263/.384/.467.
Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was hit on the right thumb by a Mike Montgomery pitch during the 10th inning of last Thursday’s game against the Cubs. He was diagnosed with a fractured thumb and will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair it, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
In Holliday’s absence, Brandon Moss will take over in left field. Jeremy Hazelbaker and Tommy Pham could get playing time in left field as well.
Holliday, 36, hit .242/.318/.450 with 19 home runs and 60 RBI in 424 plate appearances this season. The Cardinlas have a $17 million club option with a $1 million buyout on Holliday for the 2017 season. It’s quite conceivable that Thursday was Holliday’s final game as a member of the Cardinals. However, GM John Mozeliak thinks Holliday will be able to return before the end of the regular season, per Jim Hayes of FOX Sports Midwest.
In related news, Cardinals reliever Seth Maness will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, Goold notes. Maness is expected to miss the entire 2017 season. This season, the right-hander compiled a 3.41 ERA and a 16/8 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings.