“The D-Train” has at least one stop left.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Dontrelle Willis has agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs, who originally drafted him back in 2000. The deal includes an invite to minor league camp, but he could get a chance in major league spring training if he’s throwing well.
Willis announced his retirement last July after posting an 8.53 ERA in four appearances with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, but he has had a change of heart. The southpaw hasn’t enjoyed any success in the big leagues for a long time, but it’s easy to forget that he’s just 30 years old. This is about as low-risk as minor league deals can get, so it’s worth a shot for all involved.
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.