Nick Punto, who signed a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks in January, has decided to sit out the season according to Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona. He hasn’t officially retired, but at age 37 and considering he was already looking like a fairly marginal big leaguer the odds would be stacked against Punto playing again.
Punto signed a two-year deal with the A’s last offseason and hit .207 with two homers and a .589 OPS in 73 games as a utility man, at which point Oakland released him and ate the remaining $2.75 million on his contract.
A speedy, slick-fielding, light-hitting infielder, Punto played parts of 14 seasons in the majors and earned nearly $25 million despite topping a .700 OPS just three times. His best year came in 2006 for the Twins, when he took over as the starting third baseman and hit .290 with a .352 on-base percentage in 135 games.
If he’s indeed finished, Punto retires as MLB’s all-time leader in head-first slides into first base and exaggerated claps after head-first slides into first base.
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.