Joel Zumaya threw for a big group of teams earlier this month and reportedly topped out in the mid-90s with his fastball, leading to lots of optimism about the oft-injured reliever’s latest comeback.
However, an unnamed American League general manager told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “our doctors don’t think he would pass the physical based on what they see.”
Zumaya hasn’t pitched since gruesomely fracturing his elbow in mid-2010, but physical exams can of course be waived and he may also decide to wait another month or two before signing anyway.
Whatever the case, if he’s throwing 95 miles per hour again and is willing to accept a minor-league contract some team will certainly take a flier on Zumaya, who despite all his arm problems is still just 27 years old and has never ceased being effective in between disabled list stints.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.