Rather than accept another minor-league contract and try to pitch his way back to the majors again 37-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia has signed with the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan, where he’ll be the highest-player in the history of the league.
Who previously held that distinction? None other than Manny Ramirez, who played in Taiwan last season and hit .352. Garcia’s deal is worth $56,000 per month for seven months, according to the Associated Press, and apparently Ramirez’s positive experience playing in Taiwan helped convince Garcia to follow suit.
Garcia looked set to be part of the Braves’ starting rotation coming out of spring training, but instead Atlanta opted to release him. Now he’ll earn quite a bit more than he would have pitching at Triple-A and, if Ramirez’s experience is any indication, Garcia will probably have a lot of fun playing in Taiwan too.
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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.