UPDATE: Downs remains on the active roster for now, but the Angels put Hawkins on the DL and replaced him with Triple-A reliever David Pauley.
Just days after the Angels tried to address their struggling bullpen by acquiring hard-throwing right-hander Ernesto Frieri from the Padres they lost closer Scott Downs and setup man LaTroy Hawkins to injuries within the same of three pitches.
Downs injured his left knee reacting to a line drive hit back up the middle, at which point Hawkins came into the game and closed out a 4-3 win by catching a liner and doubling the runner off first base … but broke his right pinkie finger on the play.
There’s no timetables yet for either pitcher’s return, but Hawkins tweeted a picture of his mangled finger afterward and seemed pretty frustrated about his status. Their injuries open the door for demoted former closer Jordan Walden to reclaim ninth-inning duties or manager Mike Scioscia could turn to the newcomer Frieri in save situations already.
Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit one for the history books on Saturday as he fueled the team’s 4-3 win over the Royals with a walk-off home run in the 10th. The homer — a leadoff solo shot off of a Kevin McCarthy fastball — was Choo’s eighth of the year and 176th of his career, giving him the edge over Hideki Matsui for the most MLB home runs by an Asian-born player.
Exactly what happened to the ball afterwards is still a bit of a mystery, though the Rangers put out a PSA after the game’s dramatic finish. It doesn’t look like anyone has stepped forward with the ball just yet.
Choo, 35, is off to a solid start this season. While he’s nowhere near the .276-average, 3.4+ fWAR totals of years past, he’s batting a strong .259/.359/.423 with eight home runs, two stolen bases and a .782 OPS in 234 plate appearances so far.
His extra-inning blast gave the Rangers the necessary advantage for their 22nd win of the year. Had it not been for Bartolo Colon‘s three-run snafu in the third inning, the right-hander would have joined Choo with a historical milestone of his own: the most career pitcher wins by a Dominican-born player, with 243.