A Pirates fan hurled Jedd Gyorko’s home run ball into the river

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Long before Josh Bell blasted the Pirates to victory with his first career walk-off home run on Friday night, Jedd Gyorko struck a two-run homer to put the Cardinals on the board in the first inning. Andrew McCutchen scaled the wall and came up short by several feet, watching it sail right over the top of the fence and into the outstretched glove of a Pirates fan in the right field bleachers.

The ball was officially clocked at 405 feet off of Gyorko’s bat, but its final resting place was much further from home plate. The fan who caught the home run, later identified as Jeff, promptly turned toward the crowd and chucked the ball, which cleared the bleachers and riverside concourse to find a new home in the depths of the nearby Allegheny River.

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“I put all my weight into it, about 285 pounds,” Jeff told ROOT Sports’ Robby Incmikoski. While throwing toward the crowd isn’t an advisable course of action for every bleacher fan, Jeff was quick to encourage other “true fans” to toss the tradition of returning home balls to the field: “If you’re a Pirates fan — a true Pirates fan and a true Pittsburgher — you will throw away home run balls into the river.”

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.