Former MLB right-hander Eric Gagne has been making a concerted effort to revive his major league career this spring, and he may just have a contract in the works now. According to SportsNet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, Gagne is discussing a minor league deal with the Dodgers, though two other teams are said to be “really interested” as well.
The 41-year-old briefly appeared for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, where he pitched a scoreless 2 1/3 innings in the first round of the tournament, striking out two and allowing one hit and one walk. His major league track record is a little shakier; he hasn’t pitched for a big league team since 2008, when he maintained a 5.44 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 46 1/3 innings for the Brewers. He found limited success with the independent league Trois-Rivieres Aigles and Ottawa Champions in 2015-16, but hasn’t pitched more than five innings in a single season since 2009.
Nevertheless, the veteran righty left an impression on major league teams during his activities this spring, both in the World Baseball Classic and a pitching showcase held at the Dodgers’ camp in February. Further details of the potential deal have yet to be released by the team, though it appears Gagne is still far removed from any significant return to the majors.
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.