Rays slugger Carlos Pena drilled yet another home run in Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Marlins, topping Jose Canseco’s franchise record of consecutive games with a long ball.
Pena has homered in six straight contests and is now chasing the all-time record held by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long, who all homered in eight straight games. The Tampa Bay left-hander had a .169 batting average when this show of power began last Sunday and is now hitting .196. His slugging percentage has also risen exponentially to .439 and he’s among the league-leaders in home runs with 15.
The 32-year-old Pena is in a contract year, meaning he will be seeking the big bucks in just a handful of months. He was off to a horrendous start, but teams in need of a first baseman or DH have now certainly taken notice.
Due in large part to Pena’s hot bat, the Rays have won four of their last six games and sit atop the American League East with a MLB-best 40-22 record. The Yankees trail by one game.
Indians outfielder Leonys Martin will be released from the Cleveland Clinic on Sunday, according to comments from club president Chris Antonetti. Martin was hospitalized with a life-threatening bacterial infection several weeks ago, one that was said to have affected multiple organs and jeopardized Martin’s quality of life, as well as his career. The length of his recovery process is still undefined, Antonetti added, noting that there’s “no precedent for how to return to playing shape,” though it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to work back up to full strength before the season wraps up in September.
It’s been a tumultuous season for Martin, who also battled a left hamstring strain that cost him another four weeks on the disabled list earlier this year. He’s appeared in just six games with the Indians this season, collecting five hits and two home runs over 17 plate appearances. Taking into account his 78-game stint with the Tigers prior to the trade deadline, he slashed a combined .255/.323/.425 with 11 homers and a .747 OPS across 353 PA in 2018.
As the outfielder’s status is still up in the air for the time being, no significant roster changes appear to be in the team’s immediate future. Fellow outfielders Greg Allen and Rajai Davis will continue to split duties in center field during Martin’s absence. The 25-year-old rookie, Allen, has seen the bulk of the starts in center field over the last two weeks and is currently batting .243/.278/.305 with seven extra-base hits and a .583 OPS in his first full season at the major league level.