Bill Baer

Tampa Bay Rays' Steven Souza Jr. signals safe after scoring on an RBI double by Curt Casali off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman during the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 25, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Play of the Day: Steven Souza leaves his feet to rob Chris Davis of extra bases


Not content with celebrating his 27th birthday in style on Sunday by homering twice at Yankee Stadium, Rays outfielder Steven Souza, Jr. decided to make one of the best catches you’ll see this year.

In the top of the fourth, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis launched a Matt Moore fastball into the gap in right-center field at Tropicana Field. Souza gave chase and, just in front of the warning track, left his feet to snag the ball in front of the 370-foot marker on the fence.

You can see center fielder Kevin Kiermaier‘s reaction in the video. He seems amazed that Souza got to the ball. When you shock Kiermaier, who was arguably baseball’s best defender at any position last year, you know you’ve made an outstanding play.

Protective netting at Nationals Park played the hero once again

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to a New York Mets batter during a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 3, 2016. New netting has been extended to the outfield end of both dugouts. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley

Two weeks ago, the protective netting at Nationals Park made a difference when part of Kelly Johnson‘s broken bat rocketed towards the crowd. The netting, though, got in the way and protected fans from potential harm.

The netting at Nationals Park played the hero once again on Wednesday night. Cesar Hernandez broke his bat swinging at a Gio Gonzalez fastball. A majority of the bat went flying towards the fans on the third base side, but it got stuck in the netting. One can clearly see just how dangerous it could have been, as one end appeared rather sharp.

Here’s the link to the video on Some fans, including Stephen King, have been outspoken opponents of the enhanced safety, but it’s made a difference thus far and the players seem to like it.

Major League Baseball issued netting recommendations to all 30 teams during the offseason.

Video: A.J. Pierzynski joins the 2,000 hit club

Atlanta Braves' A.J. Pierzynski follows the flight of his RBI-single against Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 12, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski joined the 2,000 hit club on Wednesday night, driving an opposite-field single off of Red Sox starter Steven Wright in the top of the seventh inning. Pierzynski is the 280th player in baseball history to join the 2,000 hit club and the ninth catcher to do so, according to Baseball Reference.

Unlike last year, Pierzynski has been slow to start the 2016 season. The 39-year-old entered play Wednesday hitting .213/.275/.234 with only one extra-base hit and four RBI in 51 plate appearances.

Jorge De La Rosa lands on the disabled list with a groin strain

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa delivers a pitch to Pittsburgh Pirates' Gregory Polanco in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Rockies have placed starter Jorge De La Rosa on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin, the club announced on Wednesday. Eddie Butler has been called up from Triple-A Albuquerque.

De La Rosa lasted only three innings in Tuesday’s start against the Pirates, yielding four runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. He appeared to suffer the injury running out a ground out leading off the bottom of the third inning. De La Rosa now carries an ugly 10.18 ERA over his first five starts of the season.

Butler made four starts for Albuquerque, compiling a 4.09 ERA with a 14/6 K/BB ratio in 22 innings. In 19 career major league starts, he has a 6.04 ERA.

David Ross: “I don’t want anything I don’t deserve. I’m a backup catcher.”

Chicago Cubs' David Ross hits a sacrifice fly against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Cubs catcher David Ross is retiring after the 2016 season. The veteran of 15 seasons is well-respected around the league. For example, teammate Jayson Heyward is paying for a hotel suite for Ross all season long, for all 81 of the Cubs’ road games.

Now there’s a push to get Ross to his first ever All-Star game before his career is over. Though Major League Baseball has, since 2003, made the All-Star Game “count” by having it decide which league gets home field advantage in the World Series, players don’t tend to take it seriously. It’s difficult to imagine anyone making a fuss if Ross, who had a .518 OPS last year, makes the NL roster.

Ross, though, wants to earn it. Per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, the 39-year-old veteran said, “I don’t want anything I don’t deserve. I’m a backup catcher.”

Hey, you gotta respect that. He still wants to earn it.