Kendall Graveman becomes first starting pitcher to bat at Yankee Stadium

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Athletics third baseman Danny Valencia had to leave Wednesday’s game against the Yankees in the fourth inning due to a strained hamstring, which left the A’s in a bit of a pickle. Manager Bob Melvin opted to move Chris Coghlan from second to third base, and Jed Lowrie moved from DH to second base. The A’s lost the DH in the process, which meant starter Kendall Graveman occupied Valencia’s spot in the lineup — the cleanup spot.

The baseball world waited with bated breath for Graveman to take a turn at the plate, as he would become the first starting pitcher to take an at-bat at the new Yankee Stadium, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. As one might have predicted, Graveman struck out on three pitches against Nathan Eovaldi to end the fifth inning. Still, pretty cool.

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Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.