Steve Pearce is the Orioles’ best hitter and they got him for nothing

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During his 1990s run as Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was known for turning career minor leaguers and waiver wire finds into useful big leaguers and now his success running the Orioles is helped by similar scrap-heap finds.

This year’s biggest find is Steve Pearce, a one-time Pirates top prospect who hit just .234 with a .677 OPS in 246 games for four different teams through age 29.

Duquette and the Orioles claimed Pearce off waivers from the Yankees in late 2012, got some solid work out of him in a part-time role last season, and have watched him turn into an offensive force this year. Pearce homered twice last night as the Orioles clinched their first AL East title in 17 years and he’s now hitting .297 with 20 homers, 25 doubles, and a .936 OPS in 97 games overall.

Among all American League hitters with at least 350 plate appearances this season Pearce ranks ranks fourth in OPS, behind only Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, and Victor Martinez.

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.