The Astros play a prank on Chris Johnson

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I love stuff like this: Astros’ rookie Chris Johnson hit his first major league home run on Monday. He subsequently became the victim of a prank:

He was originally given a ball he was told was the home run ball.

“They wrote all over it, I mean just destroyed it,” he said. “I
was like, ‘Really? Come on…'”

The ball was a fake.

“After the game, Roy (Oswalt) told me he had the real one,” said
Johnson.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but someone from Texas who claims to know the scoop emailed me to tell me that the fake ball was covered with just the foulest stuff, including illustrations of the male anatomy and whatnot.

I desperately want that to be true because I’d like to think that something as minor as a nightmare season for the Astros can in no way disrupt some good old fashioned locker room humor.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.