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Rays sign Dustin McGowan to minor league deal

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After re-signing Sergio Romo to a one-year deal on Friday, the Rays continued to deepen their bullpen reserves with fellow free agent right-hander Dustin McGowan. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that McGowan has agreed to a minor league deal, which includes an invitation to spring training.

McGowan, 35, completed a two-year stint with the Marlins in 2017. He didn’t have the most productive season, skidding to a 4.75 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 7.4 SO/9 and -0.3 fWAR in 77 2/3 innings, but proved capable of shouldering a heavy workload and extended an impressive four-year streak without a trip to the disabled list.

The righty is poised to enter camp with right-handed relievers Nathan Eovaldi, Chih-Wei Hu, Austin Pruitt, Jaime Schultz and Ryne Stanek. There’s still some uncertainty surrounding the exact configuration of the bullpen; as MLB.com’s Bill Chastain noted earlier this week, the Rays expect Eovaldi to compete for a rotation spot in 2018 and could look to righties Andrew Kittredge, Chaz Roe and Hunter Wood for additional support. While he may not be the sub-3.00 ERA hurler of years past, McGowan could provide a stabilizing veteran presence to a young bullpen, one that might be facing the departure of established closer Alex Colome later this year.

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.