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Astros, White Sox, Rays in on Nelson Cruz

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Jon Heyman reports that, the Astros, White Sox, and Rays are among the teams expressing early interest in free agent slugger Nelson Cruz.

He’d make sense for just about any AL team other than the Red Sox, who have J.D. Martinez and, possibly, the Yankees, who often use their DH spot to rest their big corner sluggers. Sure, dedicated DHs are out of vogue but, after a year in which he hit 37 home runs and drove in 97 in 144 games, Cruz is one who would be worth the roster spot. What’s more, at age 38, it’s not like anyone would have to make a long commitment to him.

I realize it’s become trendy to eschew defensively limited power guys in the free agent market lately, but Cruz should be an exception. Almost any AL team would benefit from his presence.

Félix Hernández passes Don Drysdale on all-time strikeouts leaderboard

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Mariners starter Félix Hernández pitched well enough for a win on Wednesday afternoon, but Padres starter Chris Paddack was just a little bit better. Hernández allowed one run on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in the Mariners’ 1-0 loss. Paddack tossed seven scoreless innings on one hit and one walk with nine strikeouts.

With eight strikeouts on the day, Hernández passed Don Drysdale to move into 36th place on Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeouts leaderboard at 2,488. Max Scherzer currently sits in 35th place at 2,493. Christy Mathewson is Hernández’s next target at 2,507.

On the season, Hernández is now 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA and a 21/3 K/BB ratio across 25 1/3 innings. The 33-year-old had a rough 2017 and ’18, but the first-place Mariners are hoping he has something left in the tank. Hernández is earning $27 million this season and can become a free agent after the season.