The Rangers’ third base situation worked itself out in a sad way when they placed the hot-hitting Kevin Kouzmanoff on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk in his back, and activated Adrian Beltre from the 15-day DL. Beltre was dealing with a strained left quadriceps and missed the minimum amount of time. The news comes from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Kouzmanoff hadn’t played in the Majors since 2011, but came out of the gate on fire for the Rangers, replacing the injured Beltre. In 51 trips to the plate, Kouzmanoff slashed .362/.412/.617 with two home runs and 10 runs batted in. Leading up to his injury, Beltre was slashing .286/.394/.393.
Beltre is in Friday night’s lineup against the Mariners, batting third and playing third.
Announcement: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.