Video: Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery hits his first career home run

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As a result of playing in American League organizations throughout his career, up until last year, Cubs pitcher Mike Montgomery never took a plate appearance in the minor leagues. He pitched one inter-league game against the Padres in 2015, taking three PA, then joined the Cubs last July in a trade. He started in the bullpen, but eventually moved to the rotation for five starts before going back to the ‘pen. He took 11 plate appearances. And this season, he took 16 trips to the plate. For those of you counting at home, that’s 30 total plate appearances for Montgomery, who began his professional career in 2008.

Despite the relative lack of experience in the batter’s box, Montgomery still nailed his first career home run in the fifth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Braves. Ahead in the count 2-0, Montgomery absolutely crushed a 79 MPH knuckleball from R.A. Dickey to the Chop House deck in right field at Sun Trust Park, boosting the Cubs’ lead to 2-0.

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On the pitching side of things, Montgomery held the Braves to one run on two hits and a walk with five strikeouts over six innings. The Cubs went on to win 8-2, remaining undefeated since the All-Star break.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.