Anthony Rizzo isn’t the only youngster doing it big.
Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, making his first career major league start, slugged a solo home run from the right side of the plate in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 8-4 defeat of the Rockies. He then hit a two-run shot from the left side of the dish in the sixth.
According to the Associated Press, via NBC Sports, it was the first time in major league history that a player had homered from each side of the plate for the first two hits of his career. “I can’t describe how remarkable this is,” Grandal said later. “Just getting the call-up was surreal. To get called up and hit two home runs for my first two hits, it’s just incredible.”
The 23-year-old Cuban switch-hitter was acquired this past winter from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade. He’s expected to see regular action behind the plate in the wake of Nick Hundley’s demotion.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.