Delino DeShields, Jr. hits two home runs in return from fractured cheekbone

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Great news here.

As you may recall, Astros prospect Delino DeShields, Jr. suffered a fractured cheekbone when he was hit in the face by a pitch on April 18 during a game with Double-A Corpus Christi. Well, he made his return to action last night. And it was pretty impressive.

DeShields, who ended up missing three weeks as a result of the fracture, homered in each of his first two-bats. He told Josh Jackson of MiLB.com after the game that he didn’t have any fear about getting back in the batter’s box.

“I was really relaxed. A lot of people would tell you that after getting hit in the face, they’d be nervous about getting in the box again. Not me. I was like, ‘You and me, let’s go.'”

While the injury was quite scary looking, things could have been much worse and DeShields has remained unbelievably optimistic during this entire process. It’s great to see him back this quickly and here’s hoping this will prove to be a minor speed bump on the way to a productive career.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.