Pablo Sandoval Added to Atlanta Braves’ Roster for NL Wildcard Series Against the Cincinnati Reds

Pablo Sandoval is heading back to the field…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball third baseman and former World Series MVP has been added to the Atlanta Braves‘ 28-player roster for the National League wildcard series against the Cincinnati Reds.

Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval joined the Braves after being released by the San Francisco Giants a couple of weeks ago.

 

He started at third base in the final game of the regular season, going 0 for 2 with two walks in a 9-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Sandoval played 33 games for the Giants, hitting .220 with one homer and six RBI.

Pablo Sandoval to Play in the Atlanta Braves’ Game Against Boston Red Sox

Pablo Sandoval is gettin’ in the game…

The Atlanta Braves are activating the 34-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, and he’s playing third base in Sunday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN.

Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval is being prepped for a bench role in the postseason for the NL East champions. The Braves have a lot of right-handed options on their bench and Sandoval is a switch-hitter.

He joined the Braves on a minor league deal earlier this month after he was released by the San Francisco Giants.

Sandoval was hitting .220 with one home run and six RBIs this season for the Giants in his second stint with the team.

ESPN Films Orders Documentary Series on Keith Hernandez & His 1986 World Series-Winning New York Mets

Keith Hernandez is getting documented…

The 1986 World Series-winning run by the 66-year-old half-Spanish American former professional baseball player’s New York Mets will get the multi-part documentary treatment by ESPN in a project under the 30 for 30 banner, whose executive producers include Jimmy Kimmel.

Keith Hernandez

ESPN Films said the series will chronicle the team’s exploits on and off the field. 

In the World Series, the Boston Red Sox were one strike away from victory before a two-out rally and a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson slipped through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner

The comeback, ESPN said in a press release, “was merely the climax of an epic tale of ambition and swagger set in a city that was synonymous with excess.”

ESPN promises “hours of never-before-seen footage” of the team, a group of disparate, larger-than-life characters who made a big impression on and off the field. 

Keith Hernandez

Many members of the team went on to generate headlines long after 1986, among them Darryl StrawberryDwight Gooden, Hernandez, a five-time MLB All-Star, and Lenny Dykstra

The team already has been the subject of a dishy non-fiction book,The Bad Guys Won, written by Jeff Pearlman, whose L.A. Lakers book, Showtime, has been turned into a scripted drama on HBO.

Hernandez played the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Mets. He shared the 1979 National League MVP awardand won two World Seriestitles, one each with the Cardinals and Mets.

Hernandez retired as an active player after spending one year with the Cleveland Indians in 1990. Since 2006, he has served as a television broadcaster for Mets games on SportsNet New York and WPIX, as well as a studio analyst for MLB on Fox since 2017.

Pablo Sandoval Signs Minor League Contract with the San Francisco Giants

Pablo Sandovalis back with the San Francisco Giants.

The 33-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball third baseman, commonly known as Kung Fu Panda has agreed to a minor league contract with the Giants and would get a one-year, $2 million deal if he’s added to the 40-man roster.

Pablo Sandoval

The 2012 World Series MVP, who thought last summer that his time with San Francisco could be over, would have the chance to earn $750,000 in performance bonuses.

Sandoval is working back from season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in early September. Dr. Neal ElAttrachein Los Angeles determined Sandoval needed the procedure on his ulnar collateral ligament, and the third baseman has said he is determined to come back even stronger in 2020.

The progress and health status of the switch-hitter will be more clear come spring training. Pitchers and catchers report to Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona on February 11.

New manager Gabe Kapler is counting on Sandoval’s veteran presence.

“Pablo brings a wealth of experience, a lot of energy and consistent positivity,” Kapler said. “That mentality from a veteran player really helps set the tone for a clubhouse. I’m excited for the impact he’ll have. On the field, he’s a dangerous bat, and he was always one we planned carefully around when I was with Philly.”

Sandoval made a comeback with the Giants in 2017 after his release by the Boston Red Sox, and he was used in various roles by now-retired manager Bruce Bochy. In 2019, Sandoval batted .268 with 14 homers and 41 RBIs in 108 games.

Francisco Lindor Agrees to One-Year, $17.5 Million Deal with the Cleveland Indians

Francisco Lindor is staying in Cleveland…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstophas agreed to a $17.5 million, one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians, avoiding salary arbitration.

Francisco Lindor

The Indians, who have so far rejected trade offers for the four-time MLB All-Star, gave Lindor the second-largest one-year deal for a player in his second season of arbitration eligibility, behind only the $20 million Mookie Bettsagreed to last year with the Boston Red Sox

Lindor, who made $10.65 million last year, is under control of the Indians through the 2021 season, but with the prospects of signing him to a long-term deal unlikely, the team has listened to trade offers. To this point, Cleveland hasn’t heard anything worth moving on and team president Chris Antonetti said earlier this week he still expects Lindor to be the starting shortstop on Opening Day.

Lindor has become one of baseball’s best all-around players and he’s certain to land a monster free-agent contract once he’s on the market. He hit .284 with 32 home runs and 74 RBIs last season. He scored 101 runs and stole 22 bases.

J.D. Martinez Opts to Stay with the Boston Red Sox

J.D. Martinez is still seeing Red (Sox)

The 32-year-old Cuban American Major League Baseball star didn’t opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox.

J.D. Martinez

By staying with the Red Sox, Martinez can earn $62.5 million over the next three years: $23.75 million for 2020 and $19,375,000 for both 2021 and 2022. 

He also has the option to opt out after each of the next two seasons, as long as he doesn’t spend a lengthy period on the injured list.

“J.D. has advised me that his decision is about assuring that he plays for a competitive team and wanting to continue to play in a place where he knows that he can be highly productive,” Scott Boras, Martinez’s agent, told The Boston Globe.

Over the past three seasons, Martinez leads the league in home runs with 124 and is second in RBIs at 339, batting average at .313, slugging percentage at .619 and OPS at 1.007 over that span.

The Red Sox, who had the highest payroll in baseball last season ($243 million), are looking to get below the luxury tax threshold ($208M). It remains to be seen how this will affect newly hired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom‘s ability to also retain Mookie Betts, the 2018 MVP who will become a free agent after next season. Betts made $27.7 million last season and is likely to get more in arbitration this season.

Martinez led the Red Sox in home runs, RBIs and hits in 2018, on the way to winning his first World Seriestitle. His numbers in 2019 fell off as he battled back spasms, but in his two years in Boston, he hit 79 homers and drove in 235 runs. He has been an All-Starboth of his years in Boston.

Though he played 38 games in the outfield this year, Martinez is primarily a designated hitter.

Martinez takes a meticulous approach to hitting, analyzing at-bats and opposing pitchers, and several Red Sox players credited him with helping them improve their approach.

Martinez broke in with the Houston Astrosin 2011 and was released by the team in 2014. Martinez decided he had to change his swing, and worked with Robert Van Scoyoc, now the Los Angeles Dodgershitting coach, and Craig Wallenbrock.

He signed a free-agent deal with the Detroit Tigers in 2014, then was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacksin July 2017. In 62 games with Arizona, Martinez hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBIs. That landed him the deal with the Red Sox.

Pete Alonso Hits 52nd Homer to Tie Aaron Judge’s MLB Rookie Home Run Record

Pete Alonsois one homer away from making history on his own…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American New York Metsslugger hit his 52nd homer of the season, tying New York Yankees star Aaron Judge‘s total from 2017 for most by a rookie.

Alonso lined an 0-1 fastball from Atlanta Bravesleft-hander Dallas Keuchelnarrowly over the wall in left field in the first inning Friday night. He smiled as he hurried around the bases and pointed to the home fans as he crossed the plate. Teammates greeted him with handshakes outside the dugout, and the crowd at Citi Fieldinsisted on a curtain call.

“Unbelievable. When I was rounding the bases I felt like a little kid. I felt like a 7-year-old kid,” Alonso said. “I was just really kind of overcome with pure joy and emotion. I don’t think I’ve had a happier time in my life playing baseball. That is the ultimate. That’s what dreams are made of. It’s unbelievable that it happened. I still can’t believe it happened.”

Keuchel was booed when he walked Alonso in the third inning, and the big slugger popped up and struck out in his final two at-bats. The Mets won 4-2.

Alonso leads the CincinnatiReds’ Eugenio Suarezby three for the majors’ home run lead and would be the first rookie since at least 1900 to claim the big league crown outright. Manager Mickey Callawaysaid he might bat Alonso leadoff in the final two games to get him extra at-bats, and Alonso was eager to slide up a spot.

A history major in college with “an affinity for that kind of stuff,” Alonso said he’s struggling to comprehend the accomplishment.

“When I think of baseball history, I think old-timey guys like Lou GehrigBabe RuthBarry Bonds,” Alonso said. “Geez, I mean, to think that as a rookie I hit more homers than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy. I’m not trying to sound any other way. It’s just, wow.”

Judge, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, has 26 homers in 100 games in 2019. He predicted late Friday night that Alonso would break the rookie record.

“No better person to share it with. He’s eventually going to break it, I know that for sure,” Judge said. “Happy for him. I had a chance to meet him this year and talk to him a little bit, and no better individual to represent not only the Mets but the city of New York. He’s going to do a lot of special things over his long career. I’m excited for him. This is just the beginning for him, the first of many records he’s going to break.”

Alonso has already set franchise records for homers, total bases (343) and extra-base hits (84). He has 119 RBIs and 100 runs, becoming the first Mets rookie to reach triple digits in both categories. No New York player had reached those totals in any season since David Wrightand Carlos Beltranin 2008. The 119 RBIs put Alonso just five away from matching Wright’s all-time single-season franchise record.

“He’s been outstanding,” Callaway said. “There’s just something about Pete that draws everybody in.”

Alonso’s 52nd homer also tied him with for second-most all time in a player’s first season with a team. Alex Rodriguezhit 52 in 2001, his first season with the Texas Rangers. Babe Ruth holds the record with 54 homers for the Yankees in 1920, after he was traded from the Boston Red Sox.

New York trailed the National League East-champion Braves 2-1 after Alonso’s homer.

In a record season for home runs in the majors, Alonso’s long ball feat wasn’t the only one achieved Tuesday night. The Yankees got in on the fun when they became the second team in MLB history with 300 homers in a season. They joined the Minnesota Twins, who reached the mark on Thursday.

Boston Red Sox Legend David Ortiz Throws Out Ceremonial First Pitch at Fenway Park

David Ortiz is back on the baseball field… 

The 43-year-old Dominican-American former Major League Baseball designated hitter and first baseman for the Boston Red Sox, nicknamed “Big Papi,” made a surprise appearance at Fenway Park on Monday night for the first time since he was shot in a botched assassination attempt in his native Dominican Republic in June.

David Ortiz

Ortiz, a beloved figure among Red Sox faithful, got a standing ovation before throwing out the first pitch prior the game against the New York Yankees.

Ortiz, introduced on the public-address system as a symbol of “resilience, strength, triumph and love,” ran up the steps from the dugout to the field, appearing strong and healthy, before throwing a pitch to former teammate Jason Varitek.

“I want to thank God for giving me a second opportunity in my life to be here with all of you,” Ortiz said to the crowd. “I want to thank the Red Sox, my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me. … They were the first ones there supporting me.”

Ortiz was shot in the back by a gunman while sitting and talking with a friend at a nightclub in Santo Domingo on the night of June 9. He was flown back to Boston aboard a jet sent by the Red Sox the next day and spent seven weeks in a hospital, undergoing three surgeries for life-threatening injuries.

“I want to thank you for all for your prayers, all of them came home,” he told the crowd.

Ortiz also thanked his former Red Sox teammates for their visits and support, as well as some players on the Yankees who had come to see him as he was convalescing.

When the game started, Ortiz took a seat in the first row, right next to Boston’s dugout, giving his No. 34 home jersey to a young boy seated a few rows back in the first inning.

Ortiz was a 10-time MLB All-Star and three-time World Serieswinner with the Red Sox from 2003 through 2016, thrilling fans with late-game dramatics in the postseason. A street across from Fenway Park has been named for the slugger.

He further endeared himself to the fans with his heartfelt and profane speech at Fenway Park days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, urging the city to be “Boston Strong.”

New York Yankees Slugger Edwin Encarnacion Homers in First Game Back From Injury-Related Hiatus

Edwin Encarnacionis making his return to the baseball field well known…

The 36-year-old  Dominican professional baseballfirst baseman  and New York Yankees slugger  homered in his return from the injured list Tuesday, blasting a two-run shot in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers.

Edwin Encarnacion

Encarnacion was in the Yankees’ lineup on Tuesday, batting fifth, after missing a month of play since being diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his right wrist. Following a slow start since coming over from the Seattle Mariners in a mid-June trade, Encarnación went 24-for-71 (.338), with five home runs in his previous 18 games with the Yankees before going on the IL.

The three-time MLB All-Star served as designated hitter against the Rangers and finished 2-for-4 in the Yankees’ 10-1 win.

Encarnacion told reporters that he has no lingering pain and that he’s happy to be back with the Yankees. He missed 30 games after suffering the injury Aug. 3 against the Boston Red Sox.

“I think you guys know how I feel about him and the dimension he brings to our lineup, so excited to have him back,” Yankees manager Aaron Boonesaid. “I know he’s been feeling good now for a while. Excited to have him right back in the middle of our order.”

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).