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Derek Dietrich homers three times vs. Pirates

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On Monday, Reds utilityman Derek Dietrich hit a long solo home run off of Pirates reliever Alex McRae. Dietrich admired his work and took a slow trot around the bases. Some thought the Pirates might try to throw at Dietrich on Tuesday to punish him for his transgression. They did not.

Dietrich one-upped himself, blasting three two-run home runs on Tuesday. The first came in the fourth inning off of Jordan Lyles, increasing the Reds’ lead to 3-0. Dietrich went yard again in the fifth against Geoff Hartlieb, boosting the Reds’ advantage to 6-0. Dietrich made it three in the seventh, victimizing Hartlieb once more to make it a 10-0 game. The Reds eventually won, 11-6.

After his three blasts, Dietrich is now hitting .254/.364/.720 with 17 home runs, 35 RBI, and 24 runs scored in 140 plate appearances on the season. The Marlins designated him for assignment in a cost-cutting move back in November and he went unsigned late into February. The Reds snagged him on a minor league contract. Dietrich was one of many talented, established players who couldn’t find guaranteed major league contracts for some reason.

Dietrich’s three-homer game is the sixth this season, as Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Christian Yelich, Gary Sánchez, and Paul Goldschmidt have also accomplished the feat. Scooter Gennett was the last member of the Reds to have a three-homer night, blasting four round-trippers on June 6, 2017 against the Cardinals.

The last-place Reds, at 25-29 and only six games out of first place in the NL Central entering Tuesday’s action, may not be sellers if things keep going the way they have been. If the Reds do lose ground in the division, Dietrich — a potential All-Star — could be a hot commodity ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. At the very least, Dietrich has likely played his way into a guaranteed contract this coming offseason.

Joe Girardi steps down as manager of USA Baseball

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Baseball is an Olympic sport once again and USA Baseball begins the road to qualifying for the 2020 Games in just a couple of weeks. They’ll be doing it with a new manager, though, as current team USA manager Joe Girardi has stepped down from the role in order to concentrate on his quest to return to managing in the big leagues.

Girardi has interviewed for the Cubs job already and is candidate for the openings with the Mets and the Phillies. His stepping down from the Olympic job suggests that he thinks he stands a pretty good chance of getting one of the seven current openings around the game. Or, at the very least, that he wishes to show clubs with openings that he’s serious.

Girardi will be replaced by Scott Brosius, who was poised to be Girardi’s bench coach with Team USA.

The team begins training in Arizona on October 21. It begins playing qualifier games in early November in Mexico. Eventually, the 2020 Olympic Games will feature a six-nation field.