Veteran reliever Luis Ayala opted out of his minor-league contract with the Orioles last week and became a free agent because they wouldn’t call him up to the majors, and now Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports that the 36-year-old right-hander will pitch in the Mexican League.
Ayala is from Mexico, so it’s possible that he had some other Triple-A offers and simply decided to head home rather than keep grinding away in the International or Pacific Coast Leagues.
Ayala looked washed up 4-5 years ago, but then he posted a 2.58 ERA in 164 innings from 2011-2013. Yet despite that good work no teams ever seemed to really trust him as a bullpen option, so he bounced around and now couldn’t get back to the big leagues.
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.