Yankees hit five homers, top Red Sox 6-4

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The Bronx Bombers, already with 22 more longballs than any other team in the league entering Friday’s action, pounded out five homers Friday night in defeating the Red Sox 6-4.

Nisk Swisher went deep twice on the night, and Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin went back-to-back in the second inning. Derek Jeter lined a solo shot in the fifth for his 250th career home run.

The Yankees now have 186 homers on the season, 26 more than the second-place Blue Jays.  Jeter’s homer was his 10th of the year, giving the Yankees 10 players in double figures. That matches a franchise record.

The Red Sox scored all their runs off Phil Hughes in the fourth, with Dustin Pedroia hitting a three-run homer in the frame. All of the runs were unearned as a result of Hughes’ own error– he threw a potential double-play ball into center field — so his ERA fell to 4.23.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.