When the Athletics signed Hiroyuki Nakajima to a two-year, $6.5 million contract over the winter, they were hoping that he would serve as the Opening Day shortstop. However, the 31-year-old has become an afterthought in less than nine months.
Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com notes that the Athletics have outrighted Nakajima to Triple-A Sacramento, thus removing him from the 40-man roster. The thought is that the A’s will use the roster flexibility to add a catcher with John Jaso still sidelined with a concussion.
Nakajima struggled in nearly every phase of the game during spring training before coming down with a hamstring injury. While Jed Lowrie has emerged as the everyday shortstop with the big club, Nakajima has hit .282/.336/.368 with four home runs and 26 RBI in Triple-A.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.