Royals release Yuniesky Betancourt

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Predictably no team wanted anything to do with Yuniesky Betancourt and his contract on waivers, so after designating him for assignment last week the Royals have outright released the veteran infielder.

Kansas City signed Betancourt to a one-year, $2 million deal this offseason despite seeing his amazing out-making ability first-hand in 2010. Between stints with the Royals he was the Brewers’ starting shortstop for a year and hit his usual .252 with a ghastly .271 on-base percentage.

This season Betancourt was even worse, batting .228 with a .256 on-base percentage and .400 slugging percentage in 57 games, mostly as a second baseman, drawing a ridiculous nine walks in 228 plate appearances.

Betancourt’s one real asset is above-average power for a middle infielder, but when that comes with an OBP well below .300 and sub par defense it equals a pretty terrible all-around player.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.