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Report: Phillies sign Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal

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The Phillies signed free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal on Saturday, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. The deal includes an invitation to spring training and could pay up to $3.75 million with incentives if he reaches the majors. The club has yet to confirm the signing.

Rodriguez, 36, was released by the Tigers halfway through the 2017 season. He eked out just 25 1/3 innings with the club, posting a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 8.2 SO/9 and career-worst -0.7 fWAR in that span. Part of his issues stemmed from a lack of velocity; only a handful of his pitches were clocked above 90 m.p.h. and he struggled to stay effective in a limited-time gig with the Nationals, who saw him in five total appearances for Double-A Harrisburg, High-A Potomac and Single-A Hagerstown before releasing him in July.

More recently, however, the veteran right-hander has made a concerted attempt to revive both his velocity and what remains of his major league career. He can check at least one of those items off his list: he reached 93 m.p.h. in a bullpen session earlier this month and may yet break camp with the Phillies, provided he can find a way to stand out in a group that includes newly-signed veteran righties Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter.

Video: Matt Carpenter makes history with three home runs, two doubles

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
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Matt Carpenter pulled his weight and then some during the Cardinals’ 18-5 win on Friday, becoming just the second player in MLB history to tally three home runs and two doubles in the same game… and the first-ever to do so in the first six innings of a single game.

Carpenter wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board, first drawing a full count against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, then ricocheting a 92.4-MPH fastball off the scoreboard in right field for a leadoff home run. He returned in the second inning for another two-run shot and capped a seven-run spread in the fifth with an RBI double (his first double of the game was a leadoff hit in the fourth) before polishing off his performance with a third, three-run homer in the sixth.

Following Friday’s explosive five-run, seven-RBI performance, Carpenter is now batting .274/.381/.576 on the year with 23 home runs, 30 doubles and a .957 OPS in 388 PA. The last player to record five extra-base hits in one game was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who collected four runs and six RBI for the team back in June 2016. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch pointed out, Carpenter might have set another franchise record for most home runs in a game had interim manager Mike Shildt not removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. The record is still held by former club outfielder Mark Whiten, who collected four home runs (and a staggering 12 RBI) against the Reds in September 1993.