Veteran pitcher Doug Fister opted out of his contract with the Angels and is now a free agent, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. The club signed Fister to a minor league contract last month, which included an opt-out date for June 21.
Fister, 33, had so-so results in three starts with Triple-A Salt Lake, yielding seven runs (all earned) on 16 hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. It’s not clear why he decided to opt out, but he may have been told he wouldn’t be joining the major league rotation anytime soon.
Fister is now on release waivers for the next 48 hours after which he can search elsewhere for a home, presumably with a team that will give him a better shot at returning to the majors.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon moved first baseman Anthony Rizzo into the leadoff spot on Tuesday last week, June 13. The decision immediately paid off as Rizzo led off the game with a no-doubt home run to center field off of Zack Wheeler. It was the start of what would become a trend.
The next day, Rizzo led off the game with a solo home run to left-center off of Matt Harvey. After an off-day, the Cubs opened up a series against the Pirates on Friday and Rizzo led off with a walk against Trevor Williams. On Saturday, he opened the game with a single facing Ivan Nova. He greeted Jameson Taillon with a double to begin Sunday’s game. Rizzo singled off of Clayton Richard to kick off Monday’s series opener against the Padres. And on Tuesday, he led off with a solo home run to center field off of Jhoulys Chacin.
So, coming into Wednesday afternoon’s game versus the Padres, Rizzo was 6-for-6 with two singles, a walk, a double, and three homers in his very first at-bat of a game since being made the Cubs’ lead-off man. Unfortunately for him, he was not able to keep the streak going. After working a 3-0 count to begin Wednesday’s game against Miguel Diaz, Rizzo flied out to Hunter Renfroe in right field.
Entering Wednesday’s action, Rizzo was batting .268/.398/.529 overall with 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 314 plate appearances. The competition is absolutely stacked this year at first base, but Rizzo is right up there and will probably be seen at the All-Star Game next month.
Kennys Vargas hit the third-longest home run of the 2017 season on Tuesday night, hitting a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning against White Sox starter Derek Holland. The two teams had already hit three home runs and scored seven runs prior to the monster blast by Vargas.
The only longer home runs hit this season were hit by Aaron Judge (495 feet) and Keon Broxton (489 feet).
Entering Tuesday’s action, Vargas was hitting .248/.276/.446 with six home runs and 24 RBI in 127 plate appearances.