Ubaldo Jimenez to Appear at the Colorado Rockies’ Spring Training

Ubaldo Jimenez will be attending spring training…

The 36-year-old Dominican baseball player will return to the mound for the Colorado Rockies in spring training after being signed to a minor league contract with the team.

Ubaldo Jimenez 

The hard-throwing right-hander with the distinctive delivery was one of 21 players to receive a non-roster invitation to spring training from the Rockies on Wednesday. The list also includes catcher Drew Butera and infielder Chris Owings.

Jimenez hasn’t pitched in the majors since September 22, 2017, with the Baltimore Orioles. He was originally signed by Colorado as an amateur free agent while a teenager.

Jimenez became a fan favorite at Coors Fieldafter bursting on the scene in September 2006. The affable pitcher tossed Colorado’s only no-hitter on April 7, 2010, against the Atlanta Braves. He wound up 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA that season and finished third in the National League Cy Youngvoting.

His 19 wins remain a single-season Rockies record.

Jimenez was dealt to the Cleveland Indiansin July 2011, where he spent two more seasons before signing a free-agent deal with Baltimore prior to 2014.

He’s 114-117 over his career with a 4.34 ERA. Jimenez has struck out 1,720 in 1,870 innings.

Colorado’s pitchers and catchers are scheduled to have their first workout February 12. The first full-squad workout is set for February 17.

Edwin Encarnacion Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Chicago White Sox

Edwin Encarnacionis headed to The Windy City…

The 36-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter and the Chicago White Sox have reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $12 million with a club option for 2021 at $12 million, according to ESPN.

Edwin Encarnacion

Encarnacion batted .244 in 109 games last season with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. The Yankees acquired the three-time All-Star from Seattle in June to bolster a lineup sapped by injuries. With cash from the Mariners in the trade, the deal cost New York just $8 million of the $25 million he was owed in 2020, including a $5 million buyout.

Encarnacion was leading the American Leaguewith 21 homers at the time, but a strained left oblique limited the first baseman/designated hitter down the stretch. He hit .249 with 13 homers, 37 RBIs and an .856 OPS in 44 regular-season games with New York.

He hit .308 while the Yankees pounded the Minnesota Twins in the AL Division Series, but he slumped badly in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

Encarnacion has averaged 37 homers and 106 RBIs since 2012 and helped slug the Toronto Blue Jaysto back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. His 239 homers in Toronto ranks third behind Carlos Delgado(336) and Jose Bautista(265) on the Blue Jays’ career list.

His three-run drive in the 11th inning to beat the Baltimore Oriolesin the wild-card game in the 2016 playoffs gave Toronto one of its most indelible moments since Joe Carter‘s World Serieswalk-off handed the Blue Jays a second consecutive title in 1993.

Through his 14th season, Encarnacion has a career .263 average with 414 home runs and 1,242 RBIs for Cincinnati Reds, Toronto, Cleveland Indians, Seattle and the Yankees.

Jonathan Villar Traded to the Miami Marlins

Jonathan Villar is headed to the Sunshine State…

The Miami Marlins have acquired the 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball player from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league left-handed pitcher Easton Lucas.

Jonathan Villar

Villar, an infielder, was reportedly placed on waivers last week as the team sought a trade partner.

The Marlins also claimed first baseman Jesus Aguilaroff waivers after he was designated for assignment last week by the Tampa Bay Rays.

A switch-hitter, Villar turned in a career year for Baltimore last season, hitting .274 with career highs in hits (176), home runs (24) and RBIs (73) in 162 games. He ranked third in stolen bases in the American League, with 40.

“He was a tremendously exciting player for us, a joy to have,” general manager Mike Elias said Monday. “It was hard to let him go, but we’ve got to keep an eye on our strategic objectives, which is prioritize the future right now.”

Villar was too expensive to keep around. He’s eligible for arbitration and likely to earn about $10 million next year, so Elias opted to trade the 28-year-old as part of a more substantial teardown.

“It makes a lot of sense, and it’s something you have to do,” Elias said.

The GM described Villar as “a guy who’s going into his last year of arbitration with the team and facing free agency who is set to command a large salary with his play this year and years past” — qualities that don’t fit with the master plan for rebuilding the team.

“We’re going to miss him, but this is the right move,” Elias said.

Baltimore finished last in the AL East in 2019, the first season with Elias at the helm. From the outset, Elias made it clear that the roster will be overhauled before being injected with young talent.

The Orioles also reached a one-year agreement with lefty Richard Bleier and offered 2020 contracts to first baseman Trey Mancini, infielder Hanser Alberto and right-handers Dylan BundyMiguel Castro and Mychal Givens.

“These are guys that had good years and continue to grow and are deserving of the opportunity to keep going forward,” Elias said.

Aguilar was an All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018, when he had 35 home runs and 108 RBIs. This season, he had 12 homers and 50 RBIs for the Milwaukee and Rays.

Aguilar, 29, is expected to share time at first with Garrett Cooper, who had 15 homers and 50 RBIs for Miami this season.

Aguilar has a .256 average, with 63 homers and 215 RBIs in six seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.

To make room on Miami’s 40-man roster, infielder JT Riddle and right-handed pitcher Tayron Guerrero were designated for assignment. Riddle then was not offered a contract, making him a free agent.

Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez Named American League Rookie of the Year

Yordan Alvarez has slugged his way to the top…

The 22-year-old Cuban Major League Baseball player and Houston Astros slugger has capped off his meteoric rise by becoming the franchise’s third Rookie of the Year winner and second since the club moved to the American League.

Yordan Alvarez

Alvarez was a unanimous selection of the award’s 30 voters. Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means finished second, with Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe third, Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez fourth and Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio fifth.

Alvarez began the past season with Triple-A Round Rock after entering the year ranked as the 34th-best prospect by Baseball America and Houston’s eighth-best prospect by ESPN‘s Keith Law. He provided an early glimpse of things to come by hitting three homers for Round Rock in his second game of the season. By the end of April, Alvarez had mashed 12 homers, hit .354 and driven in 30 runs in just 22 games, spurring calls for a promotion to the big league club.

That call finally came in early June. In his big league debut against the Baltimore Orioles on June 9, Alvarez homered off of Dylan Bundy. He never stopped hitting, finishing with 27 home runs in 87 games, tying the mark for most home runs by a rookie who played in 100 games or fewer. He served as Houston’s designated hitter in 74 of his 87 outings and helped the Astros win the ALpennant.

Across two levels this season, Alvarez hit .324 with a .690 slugging percentage, 50 home runs and 149 RBIs in 143 games. His 1.067 OPS in the MLB was the highest ever for a rookie with at least 350 plate appearances.

Alvarez’s consistency was remarkable: He had an OPS of 1.140 at home and .985 away, 1.083 against righties and 1.038 against lefties and at least .999 in each of the four months in which he appeared in the majors.

“The humility he has in handling success at this level, and the coverage that he’s getting and all the attention, he’s just been very humble,” Astros manager AJ Hinch told ESPN during the season. “He’s also hungry to learn. He’s a quiet man by nature, and his demeanor is very low-key. But he’s always in tune with other players and other people and the information.”

Hinch also tweeted congratulations to Alvarez after he was announced as the winner on Monday.

An imposing 6-foot-5, Alvarez hit a 474-foot homer off Texas Rangers‘ Mike Minor on July 19. In early September, he homered into the third deck at Minute Maid Park, a shot so prodigious that the Astros wrapped the seat in vinyl to commemorate it.

After going just 1-for-22 during Houston’s six-game win over the New York Yankeesin the AL Championship Series, Alvarez rebounded to hit .412 with a home run during the Astros’ seven-game loss to the Washington Nationals in the World Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Alvarez out of Las Tunas, Cuba, on June 15, 2016. The Astros acquired him six weeks later in exchange for reliever Josh Fields. As Alvarez began to make his way through the Houston organization, his offensive reputation began to spread through one of baseball’s most bountiful farm systems.

“When he was brought over to the States, we started to hear some chatter from the backfields that, at one point, I think he hit a car with one of his home runs,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told ESPN this season. “It was one of those things where if you’re around and you have a half day to go watch the back field, find this guy and watch him hit. Because it’s pretty special. It snowballed from there.”

Shortstop Carlos Correa was the Astros’ last AL Rookie of the Year winner, taking the honors in 2015. The only other Rookie of the Year recipient in franchise history was Hall of Famefirst baseman Jeff Bagwell, who won the award in 1991, when the Astros were in the National League.

Nolan Arenado Wins Seventh Straight Golden Glove Award

The golden streak continues for Nolan Arenado

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American Major League Baseball player has extended his streak of winning a Gold Glove Award in every season of his career on Sunday, when the Colorado Rockies star earned the award for National Leaguet hird basemen for the seventh consecutive year.

Nolan Arenado

Arenado has won the award each year since he debuted in 2013. With this year’s win, he moved into sole possession of fourth place for the most Gold Glovesamong third basemen and just one behind Scott Rolenfor third place all time.

Only Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson, who won 16 Gold Gloves in a row from 1960 to ’75, and Mike Schmidt, who won 10, have more than Arenado. Robinson has the most Gold Gloves among all position players, but at just 28 years old, Arenado has a chance to catch him.

Kansas City Royals veteran Alex Gordon also won his seventh career Gold Glove, claiming the ALleft fielder award for the third straight year to move into a tie for 14th-most among outfielders.

2019 Gold Glove Winners

POS.ALNL
CRoberto Perez, IndiansJ.T. Realmuto, Phillies
1BMatt Olson, AthleticsAnthony Rizzo, Cubs
2BYolmer Sanchez, White SoxKolten Wong, Cardinals
SSFrancisco Lindor, IndiansNick Ahmed, Diamondbacks
3BMatt Chapman, AthleticsNolan Arenado, Rockies
LFAlex Gordon, RoyalsDavid Peralta, Diamondbacks
CFKevin Kiermaier, RaysLorenzo Cain, Brewers
RFMookie Betts, Red SoxCody Bellinger, Dodgers
PMike Leake, MarinersZack Greinke, Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks had four Gold Glove winners on their team this season, including both pitchers, Mike Leake and Zack Greinke, though the two never played with each other. Leake won the American League pitcher’s award for his time with the Seattle Mariners before Arizona acquired him at the trade deadline on July 31, the day the Diamondbacks dealt Greinke to the Houston Astros.

Shortstop Nick Ahmed, who won his second straight Gold Glove, and left fielder David Peralta were the other Diamondbacks honored Sunday. Peralta was one of three National League outfielders who won their first Gold Gloves, joining the Milwaukee Brewers‘ Lorenzo Cain and the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Cody Bellinger.

The Oakland Athletics had a pair of winners, as first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman both won for the second straight season. The Cleveland Indians had two Gold Glovers in shortstop Francisco Lindor, who won the second of his career, and catcher Roberto Perez, a first-time winner.

The second baseman awards went to the Chicago White Sox‘s Yolmer Sanchez and the St. Louis Cardinals‘ Kolten Wong, who both won for the first time.

Also in the American League, Boston Red Soxright fielder Mookie Betts won for the fourth straight season, and Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier won his third career Gold Glove after a two-year absence.

In the National League, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo won his third career Gold Glove and second in a row, while catcher J.T. Realmuto earned his first award in his first season with the Philadelphia Philliesafter a preseason trade from the Marlins.

Managers and up to six coaches per team vote for the awards in their league and cannot choose their own players. For the first time, the defensive index from the Society for American Baseball Research was used, and it comprised about 25% of the vote, with the managers and coaches ballots the rest.

Nelson Cruz Makes MLB History with 400th Career Homer

Nelson Cruz has joined an elite group of MLB players…

The 39-year-0ld Dominican professional baseball player and Minnesota Twins slugger hit his 400th career home run, becoming the 57th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the mark.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz connected in the fourth inning on Sunday for his 40th homer of the season. He became the third player in Twins history to hit 40 home runs in a season, joining Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier.

“It’s nice to do it in front of the fans. I think they deserve it,” Cruz said. “They’ve been such a big influence for us as a team. They come up every day with that energy.”

Cruz tagged the Kansas City Royals‘ Gabe Speier for a solo drive. It gave the AL Central-leading Twins an 8-6 lead on their way to a 12-8 win and elicited a curtain call for Cruz as fans at Target Field gave him a standing ovation.

This was the fourth time in Cruz’s career that he’s gotten to the 40-homer mark. He did so in three straight years from 2014-16 with the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. He’s the 26th player in baseball history with four 40-home run seasons. Cruz also became the ninth Dominican-born player with 400 career homers.

“Nelly going out there and hitting his 400th home run, maybe he picked the perfect day to do it,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re all honored to be here and witness it and enjoy this experience with him.”

Gio Urshela Helps New York Yankees Break MLB Team Home Run Record

Gio Urshela has helped his team smash its way into the annals of Major League Baseballhistory. 

The 27-year-old Colombian professional baseball player and his fellow “Bronx Bombers,” aka the New York Yankees, hit a home run in the top of the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles to break the MLB record for most home runs by a team against a single opponent in one major league season. 

Gio Urshela

Urshela’s homer, off a 97 mph sinker from reliever Miguel Castro that went over the left-center-field fence for a two-run shot, was the team’s 49th homer against the Orioles. 

During their 14-2 win at Camden Yards on Wednesday, the Yankees went deep five times. That gave them 52 homers against Baltimore to smash the record.

The record-breaking 49th homer came in the top of the fifth inning, when Gio Urshela sent a 97 mph sinker from reliever Miguel Castro over the left-center-field fence for a two-run shot.

Urshela also homered in the sixth. 

Catcher Kyle Higashioka went deep in the fourth and ninth innings, and leftfielder Cameron Maybinlaunched a 436-foot solo blast in the ninth.

Higashioka’s fourth-inning homer off starter John Means tied the MLB record held by the 1956 Yankees, who hit 48 homers against the Kansas City Athletics

The Yankees have 11 players with multi-homer games against Baltimore this season, breaking the record of 10 set by San Francisco Giantsagainst the Los Angeles Dodgersin 1958.

“We have guys up and down the lineup who can hit the ball, so it is no surprise to see what we did,” Higashioka said. “It was nice to be a part of it.”

The Yankees finished 10-0 at Camden Yards. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the 14th time in MLB history that a team has gone 10-0 or better on the road against an opponent and the first time since the 2002 Boston Red Soxwent 10-0 at the Tampa Bay Rays.

They have four games remaining against the Orioles this season, all next week in New York.

“Everyone has a lot of confidence, I think, in one another,” manager Aaron Boonesaid. “That’s the sense you get because we’ve proven throughout the year they can get it done throughout the lineup. Whether it’s been the bottom of the order, the middle, the top, it seems like it’s come from a lot of different places. They take a lot of pride in making it difficult on the pitchers and passing the baton and they have a lot of confidence in the guys in front of them and behind them.”

On Monday, the Yankees set a record by hitting their 32nd home run at Camden this season. That was the highest total by a visiting team at any stadium in one season, breaking the record of 29 held by the 1957 Atlanta Braves(at the Cincinnati Reds’ former Crosley Field).

They’ve only added to it since. Leading the barrage for New York is infielder Gleyber Torres, who has launched 10 of his 23 homers this season against the Birds. Nine of catcher Gary Sanchez‘s 24 home runs have been at Baltimore’s expense, and more than half of outfielder Clint Frazier‘s 11 dingers (six) have come against the O’s.

The Yankees slugged 17 home runs in their three-game sweep of the Orioles, hitting five on Monday and six on Tuesday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, they’re the second team in MLB history to hit five or more homers in three straight games, joining the 1977 Red Sox, who did so against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

The Yankees have hit 203 home runs this season, second in baseball behind the Minnesota Twins (224).

Baltimore Orioles’ Jonathan Villar Makes Team History Against New York Yankees

Jonathan Villarhas found his cyle…

The 28-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, has became the fifth Orioles player to hit for the cycle (the accomplishment of one batter hitting a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game)and first since Felix Pie on August 14, 2009.

Jonathan Villar 

Villar accomplished the feat during the Orioles 9-6 loss to the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.

Villar tripled in the third inning, doubled in the fifth, homered in the sixth and dumped a single into right field off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. Although it looked like Villar had no interest in heading to second base on the poke near the line, he later said he had no idea that the single completed the cycle.

“I wasn’t paying attention to that,” he said. “When I hit a base hit right there, the coach at first, he said, ‘Congratulations, you hit for the cycle.’ Right there, I knew I hit for the cycle.”

Villar joins Brooks Robinson(July 15, 1960), Cal Ripken(May 6, 1984), Aubrey Huff(June 29, 2007) and Pie (August 14, 2009) as the only players to hit for the cycle in club history. 

The others to do so in the Majors this season are Jorge PolancoShohei OhtaniJake Bauersand Trea Turner.

Manny Machado Notches the First 100-RBI Season of His MLB Career

It’s a memorable first for Manny Machado

The 26-year-old Dominican-Americanhit a three-run home run to notch the first 100-RBI season of his Major League Baseball career during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Manny Machado

The win kept the Dodgers’ National League West lead at 1½ games over the Colorado Rockies, which won 5-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Machado had been eager for a memorable moment since he was traded to the Dodgers on July 18 from the Baltimore Orioles. He borrowed a page from a popular script: homering on his bobblehead night.

“We fed off that,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s trying like heck, and he wants that signature moment. Hopefully tonight alleviated some of the pressure for him.”

Machado’s homer was one of three by the Dodgers in the game, giving them a National League-leading 222 on the season and breaking the club record of 221, set last year.

“We have great hitters here,” Machado said. “We’re all confident. We know the team we have.”

Jake Arrieta to Make Debut with the Philadelphia Phillies on April 8

Jake Arrieta is ready to Philly the pitching void…

The 32-year-old part-Puerto Rican Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher is set to make his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies next month.

Jake Arrieta

Arrieta is set to pitch before the home crowd in Philadelphia against the Miami Marlins on April 8, according tomanager Gabe Kapler announced Saturday.

Arrieta and the Phillies finalized a three-year, $75 million contract on March 12. He pitched his first spring training game for the Phillies on Thursday, striking out two, allowing three hits and walking none over two innings.

He previously played for the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. He has won the Cy Young Award and has been selected an All-Star.

Arrieta helped lead the Cubs to a World Series championship in 2016.