Athletics release Piscotty, call up top prospect Langeliers

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics released veteran outfielder Stephen Piscotty and cleared way for top prospect Shea Langeliers to gain key experience down the stretch for the last-place team in the AL West.

Langeliers, a 24-year-old catcher and left fielder selected ninth overall in the 2019 draft out of Baylor, hit .283 with 19 homers and 56 RBIs in 92 games for Triple-A Las Vegas after being acquired from Atlanta in the March trade that sent Matt Olson to the Braves. Langeliers was expected to make his major league debut as designated hitter for the A’s at Texas.

General manager David Forst thanked 31-year-old Piscotty for his impact on the club dating to his arrival ahead of the 2018 season in a trade from St. Louis that brought him back close to his home in Pleasanton. His mother, Gretchen, died in May that year from Lou Gehrig’s disease and Piscotty helped raise awareness for ALS. Major League Baseball held its first Lou Gehrig Day last year.

He helped lead the A’s back to the playoffs in 2018 after a three-year drought with career highs of 27 home runs and 88 RBIs.

“I want to acknowledge Stephen Piscotty first and just talk a little bit about his time here, which came at a really important time for us when we made that trade at the end of 2017,” Forst said in a conference call. “I appreciate everything that Stephen gave us both on and off the field in his time here.”

Oakland also recalled David MacKinnon from Las Vegas. The A’s also placed center fielder Ramon Laureano on the injured list with left side soreness. He was out of the lineup a day after he felt discomfort on a swing during his at-bat in the fourth inning at Houston and exited.

Laureano was scheduled for an MRI exam. He will be examined by a team doctor back in the Bay Area, Forst said.

Sean Murphy will remain the starting catcher and Forst said manager Mark Kotsay planned to speak with Murphy, veteran Stephen Vogt and Langeliers about playing time for the remainder of the season.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”