Alex Rodriguez connected for his 584th career home run during the bottom of the fourth inning on Saturday afternoon against the Rangers, passing Mark McGwire for sole possession of eighth place on the all-time home run list.
Rodriguez, who turns 35 in July, was homerless in his first 41 at-bats to begin the year, his longest such home run drought to start a season since needing 48 bats to hit his first major league home run as a 19-year-old in 1995.
Should Rodriguez avoid the disabled list, it’s not unreasonable to expect he will surpass Frank Robinson (7th place — 586 home runs) and Sammy Sosa (6th place — 609 home runs) this season, leaving him just outside the top-five all-time.
Speaking of history, Jim Thome launched his 566th career home run in a 6-5 win over the Royals on Saturday afternoon. He is currently 12th on the all-time home run list, breathing down the neck of Rafael Palmeiro (11th place — 569 home runs) and fellow Twinkie Harmon Killebrew (10th place — 573 home runs).
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.