Hideki Matsui, who hit 332 homers in Japan before signing with the Yankees in 2003, hit his 168th MLB homer Wednesday off the Tigers’ Duane Below in Oakland’s 7-5 victory. Add it all up and that’s 500 career home runs for Godzilla.
Matsui has seven homers so far this season. A two-time All-Star in the U.S., he had his best season with the Yankees in 2004, hitting 31 homers in 584 at-bats. He peaked two years earlier in Japan, hitting 50 homers on his way to his third MVP award as a Yomiuri Giant.
Matsui also went over 2,500 hits and 1,600 RBI earlier this season. He’s a career .285/.364/.469 hitter with 722 RBI in 1,142 games in the majors.
Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.
Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.
Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.