Wainwright, Molina tie MLB record for batterymates

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina made their 324th career start Thursday, tying the major league mark set by Detroit’s Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan from 1963-1975.

Wainwright and Molina got a standing ovation from the crowd as they made their way in from the bullpen moments before first pitch against the Washington Nationals, as well as after the top of the first inning.

Wainwright and Molina are scheduled to break the record against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 14.

The duo made their first start together on April 6, 2007, at Houston. Wainwright notched his first of 212 wins as a starter with Molina as his catcher, which is a major league record for batterymates.

Molina, 40, will retire at the end of the season, but Wainwright, 41, has not publicly announced a decision on his plans for 2023.

Molina debuted in 2004. Wainwright broke into the majors in 2005, but was used mostly as a reliever his first two seasons.

Notably, Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran to clinch the 2006 NLCS and Brandon Inge to clinch the 2006 World Series, both with Molina behind the plate.

Wainwright and Molina have 13 total All-Star Game appearances between them. The Cardinals have reached the postseason in 11 of the 17 seasons that the two have been on the roster.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.