As expected the A’s have activated reliever Eric O’Flaherty from the disabled list, completing his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery 12 months ago. To make room on the roster they designated left-hander Jeff Francis for assignment.
O’Flaherty was an elite setup man for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a 1.99 ERA in 250 innings. He would have been in line for a big payday as a free agent if not for the elbow injury, but instead settled for a two-year, $7 million deal from the A’s.
Francis has become a sort of defacto fifth starter/long reliever, joining multiple teams for short stints before being let go. He made nine relief appearances for the A’s, posting a 6.08 ERA, and Francis has a combined 5.28 ERA since coming back from Tommy John surgery of his own in 2010.
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.