Cardinals set a record for pinch-hit homers in a season

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The Cardinals have been all about the home runs this year. They have 201 as a team on the season, leading the National League by 12 over their next closest pursuer. It’s the fourth most they’ve ever hit in franchise history, following their totals of 235, 223 and 214 in 2000, 1998 and 2004, respectively. They have 25 games left in the season.

But more notable than their home run totals is this little freakish stat: they have hit 15 pinch-hit home runs this year, which is a new MLB record. The previous record of 14 was held by the 2001 Giants and the 2001 Diamondbacks. Matt Carpenter‘s pinch-hit job in their come-from-behind victory over the Pirates last night broke the record.

Hitting pinch-hit homers is not a replicable skill — and using ringers like Matt Carpenter as a pinch-hitter isn’t exactly the same thing as trotting a contact specialist like Lenny Harris or Manny Mota out there — but it’s still pretty cool. Pinch-hit homers are fun and exciting. At least if you’re rooting for the team doing the pinch-hitting.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.