The past 24 hours have seen a lot of movement on the pitching coach front, with John Farrell taking the Blue Jays’ manager job, the Yankees firing Dave Eiland, and Curt Young leaving the A’s with an eye toward joining the Diamondbacks.
Despite the sudden rash of prominent pitching coach openings one of the best of all time, Dave Duncan, has decided to remain with Tony La Russa and the Cardinals, agreeing to a two-year deal today.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Duncan insisted on a multi-year deal and the Cardinals eventually gave in after initially saying they only wanted to give one-year commitments to La Russa’s coaching staff. La Russa will be working on a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2012, but Duncan’s contract is a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2013.
Strauss also notes that Mark McGwire is leaning toward returning as hitting coach after saying previously that he’d consider stepping down due to family reasons. If he does return, McGwire is expected to receive the same one-year deal that all non-Duncan coaches get.
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.