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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.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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