Pirates manager John Russell says Lastings Milledge 'looks like he's ready' to play every day

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For the past month or so the Pirates have used a quasi-platoon in right field with Ryan Church starting against righties and Lastings Milledge playing versus lefties, but manager John Russell said yesterday that’s going to change in the second half.
Milledge will now be more or less an everyday player, in part because he’s played well and in part because Church is hitting .176. He’s yet to turn into the type of player many projected when he was a top-ranked prospect in the Mets’ farm system, but Milledge is still just 25 years old and has hit .276/.347/.392 in 74 games this season.
Of course, that’s nothing special for a corner outfielder and his splits reveal an excellent .318/.431/.518 line versus lefties compared to a terrible .255/.297/.327 mark against righties. In other words, Russell wants to see Milledge play regularly because “he’s earned it” in a role that gave him favorable matchups but through 1,055 career plate appearances versus right-handing pitching he’s hit just .261/.317/.385.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.