Jeff Francoeur got a game-winning "hit" off Mariano Rivera

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This went down in the wee wee hours of Sunday morning so a ton of people missed it, but Jeff Francoeur had a walkoff hit against Mariano Rivera. Hit-by-pitch, that is.

The Rangers trailed 6-5 heading into the ninth and it was enter sandman. Rivera walked Vladimir Guerrero, who
was replaced by pinch-runner Esteban German. The Nelson Cruz singled and Ian Kinsler doubled, which scored German. Joe Girardi then had Mo walk Chris Davis to get to Matt Treanor. Ron Washington pinch hit Andres Blanco for him and he popped out.  Up comes Francoeur, who who most people would have bet their baseball card collection wouldn’t be able to touch Rivera. Hell, I would have bet my son that he’d hit into a double play.

But he can’t do that if he doesn’t swing, and he didn’t have to: Mo’s first pitch grazed Frenchie’s left arm (video here). I’d like to think the ump heard it nick the jersey or something, but he may have made the call based on Francoeur’s dramatic reaction to it. According to the game story he yelled “It hit my arm! It hit my arm!” I’ve spilled gallons of ink slamming Francoeur over the years, but the young man gave me a smile with that one. His teammates too:

“Great … awesome,” Rangers starter Tommy Hunter said. “Glad to see
Frenchy could stand up there and get hit. He made sure the whole world
knew he was hit. That was funny.”

Please correct me the next time I say that Francoeur has no vaule, because that’s clearly not the case. Dude’s a Mariano Rivera killer, I tells ya.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.