Since Albert Belle’s career ended rather abruptly after the 2000 season, we didn’t get to see him age all that much in the public eye. He turned 34 in his last season and then just disappeared to wherever crazy, occasionally criminal elite power hitters go. I picture a fortress carved in a foreboding mountain, for what it’s worth.
Today he showed up at Cleveland Indians camp where he met up with former 1990s Indians Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Sandy Alomar Jr. and manager Mike Hargrove and posed for this picture by Jordan Bastian of MLB.com:
Egads. Lofton looks like he could still lead off for a major league team and Alomar looks like he could be a backup catcher. I have no opinion about Baerga. If you made me put either Mike Hargrove or Belle in a lineup today, based on that pic alone, I’d go with Grover.
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.