The strange voyage of Brett Wallace continues.
Steve Campbell of Houston Chronicle reports that Wallace was recently dropped from his Dominican Winter League team. The 25-year-old batted .173 (9-for-52) with two home runs and nine RBI over 20 games before getting the boot from the Escogido Lions.
Astros general manager Ed Wade, who was busy at the general managers’ meetings this week in Milwaukee, told Campbell that he wasn’t aware of Wallace’s release.
“He’s been struggling down there, and it’s a very competitive environment,” Wade said.
It’s not usual for players to be dropped from winter ball, as teams are there to win as opposed to doing any favors for MLB teams, but this is just the latest turn in a disappointing year for the former top prospect. Wallace left spring training as the starting first baseman, but eventually lost his job to Carlos Lee and was sent back down to the minors in late July. He batted .259/.334/.369 with five home runs, 29 RBI and a .703 OPS over 378 plate appearances at the major league level this season.
Lee, who has one year left on his six-year, $100 million contract, is set to open 2012 as the starting first baseman while Wade says that Wallace will have to “win a job” on the Opening Day roster.
So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.
The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.
Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.
With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.