Nationals’ search for center fielder may lead to Norichika Aoki

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Dating back to the trading deadline the Nationals have been searching for a long-term solution in center field and Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that they could turn to Japanese star Norichika Aoki if other options fall through.

Aoki is expected to be posted for bidding by the Yakult Swallows at some point later this month, so the Nationals would have to submit the highest bid for his exclusive negotiating rights and then work out a separate contract with the 29-year-old outfielder.

Aoki is a lifetime .330 hitter in Japan, but the speedy left-handed hitter batted a career-low .292 with just four homers this season and has reached 20 homers just once. At best he projects as a potential leadoff man, but he may end up being a better fit at the bottom of the lineup.

Mike Trout, Willson Contreras homer, A.L. leads 2-1 after three

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Aaron Judge did it first, Mike Trout did it next.

The best player in baseball — who spent the bottom of the second mic’d-up and talking to Joe Buck and John Smoltz about the weather and stuff — came to bat second in the top of the third inning, facing Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. deGrom is used to pitching with no run support at this point so it’s not like he was uncomfortable I imagine, but you can only get so comfortable when Mike Trout is in the box. Trout took deGrom downtown. Or at the very least to left field to make it 2-0, American League.

The National League took that run right back in the bottom of the third. With the Rays’ Blake Snell in the game, Willson Contreras of the Cubs led off and he wasted no time, depositing Snell’s first pitch just over the railing in left to make it 2-1, American League.