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The rarest thing in baseball just happened

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Joey Votto popped out to first base. Yes, it’s true: after 6,827 plate appearances in which he never once popped up to the first baseman, Votto did just that on Wednesday afternoon against the Dodgers.

With two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the eighth inning facing Pedro Báez, Votto worked a 3-1 count before hitting a change-up up in the air in foul territory. Cody Bellinger made the grab.

Votto has been famously stingy with the pop-ups. According to FanGraphs, he has a 1.1 percent infield fly ball rate for his entire career. He didn’t pop up once in 2016 or ’18, and didn’t this season until today. The major league average pop-up rate since 2007, Votto’s first season in the majors, ranged between 9.3 and 10.6 percent. Among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances since 2007, the only other players with a pop-up rate below two percent are Ryan Howard (1.5%) and Howie Kendrick (1.7%).

Votto went 0-for-3 with a walk on the afternoon. The future Hall of Famer is now batting .228/.323/.386 with a home run and three RBI on 65 plate appearances this season.

Carlos Martínez underwent ‘small procedure’ on right shoulder

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Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed on Sunday, to KMOX/1120 AM and StlToday.com, that pitcher Carlos Martínez underwent a “small procedure” to address discomfort in his right shoulder and encourage healing as well as a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Martínez, 28, began experiencing shoulder issues in 2018 which impacted his ability to pitch deep into games. Upon his return from the injured list in late August that year, the club moved him into the bullpen. He remained in the bullpen for 2019, making his season debut in May, and had a successful year, racking up 24 saves with a 3.17 ERA and a 53/18 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings.

Martínez wants to start again and the Cardinals have said they will afford him the opportunity. He is expected to be on track to participate in spring training as usual.