Mets sign Scott Hairston to a minor league contract

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Scott Hairston has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mets, according to Ted Berg of SportsNet New York (and later confirmed by Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com).

Hairston managing only a minor-league deal is surprising, because while he’s been overmatched as an everyday player he’d be an excellent fit for any number of teams as a platoon starter versus left-handed pitching, against whom he’s hit .280 with 18 homers and an .839 OPS in 375 at-bats during the past three seasons despite calling pitcher-friendly ballparks home.

He’s also a solid defensive corner outfielder with experience in center field as well as second base, making him an ideal bench player. Very nice low-cost pickup for the Mets and a head-scratcher for the half-dozen other teams that could use a part-time lefty masher.

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.