In a battle of the Vargases (Vargi?) earlier today, Kennys Vargas of the Twins was the undisputed winner against Royals left-hander Jason Vargas. Check out this laser beam of a home run. Don’t blink or you might miss it:
That one got out of there in a hurry. In fact, the exit velocity on the ball was 113 mph. Andrew Ettel, coordinator of baseball research for the Twins, notes that it was one of the three hardest tracked home runs in MLB so far this season. I believe it.
Vargas, a 24-year-old switch-hitter, batted .274/.316/.456 with nine home runs and 38 RBI in 53 games as a rookie last season. Today’s home run was his first of 2015.
Evan Longoria was forced to exit tonight’s game against the Blue Jays after he was hit by a pitch and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he is considered day-to-day with a bruised hip.
Rays right-hander Chris Archer hit Russell Martin and Edwin Encarnacion with pitches earlier in the game, though neither of them appeared to be intentional. Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada then drilled Longoria in the left hip in the eighth inning, which you can watch here. Things got a little heated between Archer and Mark Buehrle in the aftermath and Rays manager Kevin Cash told Topkin after the game that thinks the pitch had intent behind it. It’s hard to blame him.
Fortunately, it looks like Longoria should be OK, but we’ll have to see if the bad blood spills over into future matchups between these clubs.
The wait is over. Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago reports that the Cubs are calling up top prospect third baseman Kris Bryant. He’ll make his major league debut tomorrow afternoon at Wrigley Field against the Padres.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com confirms the report and adds that Mike Olt will be placed on the disabled list with a right wrist fracture in a corresponding roster move.
Bryant was sent down to Triple-A Iowa despite tearing the cover off the ball during spring training. Of course, service time was the only reason for that. If the Cubs kept him in the minors for 12 days, they would ensure that they would get an extra year of team control, through 2021. Despite the obvious issues with the current system and some bickering between Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, and Cubs president Theo Epstein, it was a no-brainer. The 12th and final day was today, so the Cubs are now in the clear. And they aren’t waiting another minute to get him into their lineup.
Bryant, 23, led the minors with 43 home runs last season while posting a 1.098 OPS and was batting .321 (9-for-28) with three home runs and 10 RBI over his first seven games in Triple-A this season. He’s going to face a ton of pressure in Chicago from a fanbase that is thirsty for a winner, but this is going to be fun to watch.
Bryant homered in his final at-bat with Triple-A Iowa on Thursday night. I guess this was enough to convince the Cubs that he’s ready:
It took until his 10th game, but Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton finally collected his first home run of the season with an opposite-field two-run shot against Mets right-hander Dillon Gee this evening. Check it out below:
Tonight’s blast had some extra meaning, as Stanton passed Dan Uggla to become the Marlins’ new all-time home run leader. He’s already at 155 career home runs. This is the 23rd season in franchise history and they haven’t had many good players stick around for long, so that explains the low number. Still, this is a damn impressive accomplishment for someone who just started his age-25 season. It’s safe to say Stanton is going to create lots of distance on that list.
By the way, you’ll notice that Stanton was wearing the protective face mask on helmet. He ditched it against against a left-hander on Tuesday night, but it looks like he’ll be using it regularly against right-handers.
Bad news here for the Blue Jays, as shortstop Jose Reyes was forced to leave tonight’s game against the Rays after the first inning due to soreness in his left rib area.
Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com notes that Reyes has been trying to play through an oblique injury of late. That usually doesn’t end well. He was “very frustrated” after leaving the game and slammed his helmet before going into the clubhouse, so one wonders if a trip to the disabled list could be next.
Reyes was limited to 93 games in 2013, but he managed to stay mostly healthy last season while batting .287/.328/.398 with nine home runs, 51 RBI, and 30 stolen bases over 143 games. The 31-year-old is hitting .324 (12-for-37) through 10 games this season.