Odubel Herrera willing to take a fastball to the ribs to keep flipping his bat

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera hit a bases-clearing double in the seventh inning of Saturday’s win against the Giants, flipping his bat in the process. He did so against reliever Hunter Strickland, the man who memorably drilled Bryce Harper, catalyzing a benches-clearing brawl that resulted in his being suspended six games.

Herrera was pulled aside by veteran teammate Andres Blanco, who pointed out the man Herrera may have offended. Herrera said, via CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, “I’m sure that some pitchers may find it offensive, but I’m not trying to offend anyone. That’s just the way I am and that’s the way I’m going to play.”

Herrera understands that he may, at some point, rub someone the wrong way and he may have to take a fastball in the ribs. The outfielder said, “Of course, it worries me a little bit. I don’t want to get drilled. But I’m not going to change the way I play. If I get hit, I’m just going to have to rub it.”

Through the end of May, Herrera was batting an uncharacteristic .218/.262/.326, so he hadn’t had many opportunities to meaningfully flip his bat. But along with Saturday’s double, Herrera also homered and doubled twice on Sunday, so he may finally be getting out of his rut.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M 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, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He 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 was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.