Joey Cora to Become Third-Base Coach for New York Mets

Joey Cora has Mets his match…

The New York Mets are on the verge of hiring the 56-year-old Puerto Rican former Major League Baseball player, who had an 11-year career in the MLB, as their new third-base coach, ESPN reports, confirming a report by the New York Post.

Joey Cora,

Cora, the older brother of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, spent five years as third-base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates before being let go at the end of the 2021 season.

In New York, he’ll become the first coach hired under Buck Showalter, who took over as the team’s manager less than three weeks ago.

The Mets retained Jeremy Hefner as their pitching coach but are still in the process of filling vacancies at bench coach, hitting coach and first-base coach, among others.

Cora was a major league middle infielder from 1987 to 1998, making an MLB All-Star team late in his career, then transitioned into coaching shortly thereafter. Cora began as a manager in the Mets’ minor league system and later spent eight years with the Chicago White Sox under Ozzie Guillen, winning a World Series as the team’s third-base coach in 2005. Cora was also Guillen’s bench coach with the Miami Marlins in 2012 and has often interviewed for managerial jobs throughout his post-playing career.

Cora will now replace Gary DiScarcina, who was let go amid the shake-up that followed the firing of former Mets manager Luis Rojas. Rojas is now the New York Yankees‘ third-base coach, while DiSarcina has the same position with the Washington Nationals.

Minnie Miñoso Named to Baseball Hall of Fame

Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso is headed to the Hall

The late Cuban professional baseball player, nicknamed “The Cuban Comet” and “Mr. White Sox,” has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Minnie MiñosoMiñoso was widely considered baseball’s first Latino star in a career that started in the Negro leagues and continued over several decades with him excelling mostly for the Chicago White Sox. The was the first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in White Sox history, as a 1951 rookie he was the one of the first Latin Americans to play in an MLB All-Star Game.

Minnie MiñosoMiñoso was an American League (AL) All-Star for seven seasons and a Gold Glove winner for three seasons when he was in his 30s.

Miñoso joins Gil Hodges, former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, a longtime television analyst after his playing days, Bud Fowler, and Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field.

Oliva, an 83-year-old Cuban former professional baseball right fielder, designated hitter, and coach, played his entire 15-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career for the Twins, from 1962 to 1976.

Oliva and Kaat are the only living new members. Dick Allen, who died last December, fell one vote shy of election.

Kaat pitched 25 seasons with a host of teams, including the Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, winning 283 games. He served as an analyst for the Yankees before moving on to the MLB Network.

The 16-member Early Days and Golden Days committees met separately in Orlando, Florida. The election announcement was originally scheduled to coincide with the big league winter meetings, which were nixed because of the MLB lockout.

The six newcomers will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022, along with any new members elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

First-time candidates David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling on the ballot, with voting results on January 25.

Leury Garcia & Chicago White Sox Agree to New Contract Terms

Leury Garcia is staying put…

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms with the 30-year-old Dominican professional baseball utility player and free agent infielder/outfielder, according to ESPN.

Leury Garcia Seeking a return to the postseason, the club brought back the popular, longest tenured player on the team. Garcia, 30, was used as a super utility player last season for the White Sox, appearing in 65 games in the outfield, 36 at second base, 19 at shortstop and 11 at third base.

He slashed .267/.335/.376 in 415 at-bats, and was a valuable player moving around the diamond as the White Sox were hit with a multitude of injuries throughout the summer.

The switch hitter is also one of the leaders on a young White Sox team who have made the playoffs the last two seasons. Garcia has been with the Sox since 2013.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement was first reported by MLB Network.

Javier Baez Agrees to Six-Year, $140 Million Deal with Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have found what they’ve been searching for in Javier Baez

The Major League Baseball team has agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal with the 29-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball player and free-agent shortstop, according to ESPN sources.

Javier BaezThe deal also includes an opt-out, according to the source.

It would be the second-largest free-agent deal in Tigers franchise history, behind Prince Fielder, who signed a nine-year, $214 million deal with Detroit in January 2012.

While he struck out a league-high 184 times last season, Baez hit .265 with 31 homers, 87 RBIs and 18 steals. He also brings Gold Glove defense to Detroit with his signature no-look tags.

The Tigers had been looking for a shortstop since it went 77-85 last season, finishing third in the AL Central behind the Cleveland Guardians and the Chicago White Sox.

Baez was selected in the first round of the 2011 draft. The two-time National League All-Star had been close to signing a long-term extension with the Chicago Cubs before the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic put negotiations on hold.

Those contract talks never resumed, and the Cubs traded Baez to the New York Mets this past July.

Avisail Garcia Agrees to Four-Year, $53 Million Contract with Miami Marlins

Avisail Garcia is headed to the South Florida…

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball right fielder has agreed to a four-year, $53 million contract with the Miami Marlins are in agreement on a four-year, $53 million contract, according to ESPN.

Avisail Garcia The Marlins will become Garcia’s fifth team.

He is coming off his best season, hitting 29 home runs with 86 RBIs — both career bests — for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021.

Garcia opted for free agency earlier this month, and the Marlins have made it clear in recent weeks that landing outfield help was a top offseason priority.

Garcia has also played with the Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and for the Chicago White Sox, a team he represented in the 2017 All-Star Game played at what was then called Marlins Park in Miami.

In parts of 10 seasons, Garcia has batted .270 with 127 home runs and 475 RBIs. He has played almost exclusively in right field, with limited time in center and left as well.

Minnie Miñoso Among 10 Men Nominated by Golden Days Era Committee for MLB’s Hall of Fame

The late Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso is having a golden moment…

The late Cuban professional baseball player, who was known as “The Cuban Comet” and “Mr. White Sox,” is among the 10 men on the ballot of the Golden Days Era committee for baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Minnie MiñosoMiñoso, who died in March 2015, began his baseball career in the Negro leagues in 1946 and became an All-Star third baseman with the New York Cubans.

He was signed by the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB) after the 1948 season as baseball’s color line fell. Miñoso went on to become an All-Star left fielder with the Indians and Chicago White Sox. The first Black Cuban in the major leagues and the first black player in White Sox history, as a 1951 rookie he was the one of the first Latin Americans to play in an MLB All-Star Game.

Minnie MiñosoMiñoso was an American League (AL) All-Star for seven seasons and a Gold Glove winner for three seasons when he was in his 30s.

In addition to Miñoso’s name, the Golden Days Era ballot also includes Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, 83-year-old Cuban former professional baseball right fielder, designated hitter and coach Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills also are on the ballot along with former Pittsburgh manager Danny Murtaugh, the Hall said.

The vote by the 16-person committee, whose members will be announced later, is scheduled for December 5 at the winter meetings in Orlando, Florida. Its ballot considers players whose primary contributions were from 1950 to ’69.

A separate 16-person early baseball era committee also will meet to consider pre-1950 candidates. Its ballot includes seven players from the Negro Leagues: John Donaldson, Bud Fowler, Vic Harris, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, Buck O’Neil, Dick “Cannonball” Redding and George Scales.

They are joined by Bill Dahlen, Lefty O’Doul, Allie Reynolds and George Scales.

To gain election from either committee, a candidate must appear on at least 75% of ballots.

Anyone elected will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 24 along with any players elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, whose balloting will be announced January 25.

First-time BBWAA ballot eligible players include David Ortiz, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum and Alex Rodriguez.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be on the BBWAA ballot for the final time.

Hodges, an eight-time All-Star first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and manager of the 1969 World Series champion New York Mets, received 63.4% of the ballots in 1983, falling 44 votes shy of election in his final appearance on the BBWAA ballot.

Miñoso peaked at 20.9% in his second BBWAA ballot appearance in 1986. He got just 14.7% in his final appearance in 1999.

Maris, a two-time AL MVP who hit 61 home runs in 1961 to break Babe Ruth‘s single-season record, received 43.1% in his final BBWAA ballot appearance in 1988.

Candidates for the early-days balloting were picked by a special early baseball overview committee of five Negro Leagues historians — Gary Ashwill, Adrian Burgos Jr., Phil Dixon, Leslie Heaphy and Claire Smith — and five BBWAA members who have served on the Hall’s historical overview committee: Jim Henneman, Steve Hirdt, Rick Hummel, Jim Reeves and Glenn Schwarz.

Candidates for the golden era vote were selected by Henneman, Hirdt, Hummel, Reeves, Schwarz, Bob Elliott, Dave O’Brien, Jack O’Connell, Tracy Ringolsby, Susan Slusser and Mark Whicker.

The Today’s Game Committee (1988 to present) will consider candidates in December 2022 and the Modern Baseball Committee (1970-87) will meet in December 2023.

Carlos Correa Hits Career-High 25th Home Run to Help Houston Astros Clinch AL West Title

Carlos Correa has blasted his team to another title…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop hit his career-high 25th home run with a three-run shot, as the Houston Astros clinched the AL West title with a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.

Carlos Correa

It’s the fourth division title in five seasons and 10th overall for the Astros. They’re in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, extending a franchise record.

“That sounds pretty special,” Correa said.

The Astros will open the AL Division Series on October 7 against the Chicago White Sox — home field for that best-of-five matchup is still to be determined. Houston went 5-2 against the White Sox this year.

Houston was a wild-card team last year in manager Dusty Baker‘s first season with the club. So where did this division-clinching victory rate on his list?

“Every time you win, it ranks higher than the last time. And you never get tired of winning,” he said.

Correa’s huge hit in the fourth inning allowed the Astros to put a recent stretch where they dropped five of six games behind them and let the celebration begin at Minute Maid Park.

“We are where we are because of him,” Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve said.

Astros mascot Orbit dashed onto the field waving a huge orange flag that touted the team’s division title as the players cheered and embraced after the final out.

“I’m proud of my team,” Altuve said. “They went out there every single day this season to make this happen.”

Tampa Bay, which has already clinched the top seed in the American League playoffs, put runners on first and second with no outs in the ninth but didn’t score.

Rays rookie Wander Franco went 0-for-4 to snap a 43-game on-base streak, which tied him with Frank Robinson in 1956 for the longest such string in MLB history among players 20 or younger.

 

Yuli Gurriel singled to start Houston’s fourth and Kyle Tucker walked. Correa followed with his towering shot that smashed off the wall in left field to put the Astros up 3-0 against Ryan Yarbrough (9-7).

The charismatic shortstop put a hand to his ear to encourage the crowd as the rounded third base on the home run trot.

Lance McCullers Jr. (13-5) didn’t allow a hit until Ji-Man Choi singled to start the sixth. There were two outs in the inning when Brandon Lowe homered on a ball to right field that sailed just inside the foul pole to cut the lead to 3-2.

White Sox’s Seby Zavala Becomes First Player in MLB History to Hit First Three Career Homers in Same Game

Seby Zavala has homered his way into MLB history…

The 27-year-old Latino professional baseball player and Chicago White Sox rookie hit the first three home runs of his career on Saturday night, including a grand slam, but the Cleveland Indians rallied to beat Chicago 12-11.

Seby Zavala

Zavala became the first player in big league history to hit his first three career home runs in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. The catcher played his 18th game in the majors — he was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on July 6 to replace the injured Yasmani Grandal.

Batting ninth, Zavala hit a solo homer in the third off Triston McKenzie. He connected for a grand slam off McKenize in the fourth for a 6-1 lead and a solo drive against Bryan Shaw in the seventh.

“I always knew I could swing it,” Zavala said. “Going through a rough patch for a couple of months, I knew if I kept working, something would click and I feel pretty good at the plate.”

With a chance to become the 19th player to hit a record-tying four homers in a game, Zavala singled in the eighth and finished with six RBIs.

Zavala — who will turn 28 on August 28 — played at San Diego State, finishing up with the Aztecs in 2015. Later that year, he was a 12th-round selection by Chicago in the June entry draft. He hit 20 home runs at Triple-A Charlotte in 2019.

His magic wasn’t enough to outpace the Indians on this night, however, as Austin HedgesOwen Miller and Amed Rosario homered to help Cleveland overcome a five-run deficit.

The Indians totaled nine runs in three straight innings to take the lead. Justin Garza (1-0) threw two scoreless innings. Emmanuel Clase got five outs for his 13th save.

The Arizona Diamondbacks Reveal New Gold Uniform Inspired by State’s Hispanic Culture

David Peralta is preparin’ for a golden moment…

The 33-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball outfielder will soon be donning the Arizona Diamondbacks’ recently unveiled gold uniform.

David Peralta

The uniform is a reference to the Sonoran Desert and the state’s Hispanic culture as the latest alternate jersey in the City Connect collection.

The jersey reads “Serpientes” across the front, intended to highlight Arizona’s Hispanic culture, while the uniform patch features the Arizona state flag and a reference to Phoenix’s nickname as the Valley of the Sun.

The Diamondbacks will debut the uniforms on June 18 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and plan to wear them six more times: July 16 against the Chicago Cubs, July 30 against the Dodgers, August 13 against the San Diego Padres and for a three-game series with the Dodgers on Hispanic Heritage Weekend from September 24 to 26, which includes Roberto Clemente Day.

“I was really excited about that because we are involving the Spanish community in a special way. Arizona has a really big Hispanic community, and for me to be part of that, I am really proud and excited about it,” said Peralta. “We have Venezuelan guys, Dominican guys on our team to represent the Spanish community in Arizona. It really is a big deal for us, especially the way they’re doing it with the team name.”

Arizona will join the Boston Red SoxMiami MarlinsChicago White Sox and Cubs with a City Connect jersey.

The Diamondbacks conducted Zoom calls during the 2020 season to survey players on their thoughts about potential City Connect uniform designs. Peralta said that while many of the uniforms featured a nod to Arizona’s Hispanic culture — according to the most recent U.S. census data, more than 42% of the state’s residents identify as Hispanic — the gold design jumped off the page.

“I was looking at the colors in the computer and I thought it looked good, but when I saw the jersey, the way the colors come out, the contrast levels, it was like whoa, this is unique,” Peralta said. “This is something different.”

Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said the jersey will replace the current alternative that reads “Los D-backs” and could become a regular part of the rotation depending on the reaction from fans and whether the team wins while wearing the uniforms.

“If we have an overwhelmingly favorable reaction to it, then we are going to start working them in a little more,” Hall said. “If we see that the hoodies and the T-shirts and jerseys are flying off the shelf in the team shop, we’ll know that fans want to see it more, and we’ll get feedback from fans and players. Our players are extremely superstitious, and if we turn the season around, you’ll see Serpientes out there a lot more, especially if we can rattle off some wins with it.”

When approached by MLB and Nike regarding City Connect, the Diamondbacks immediately agreed to take part in the inaugural run of uniforms. When deciding on which colors to use, they decided to stick to their existing set.

“Our preference was to have more of a bright or loud color, but we thought that it was a reflection of the desert,” Hall said. “It was a color that we already had, so it’s not an escape from what we have already, but I think our fans would have been more shocked if we had completely abandoned our colors.”

The Diamondbacks historically have been one of the more experimental teams when it comes to uniform designs. Ahead of the 2016 season, the team unveiled a complete redesign featuring a polarizing gradient snakeskin pattern on the uniforms and pants, widely considered among fans to be among the worst in the sport. When Nike took over as the uniform provider for MLB, Arizona once again redesigned its jerseys.

“We’ve been bold at times, maybe too bold, had too many options in the past, and we simplified,” Hall said. “We were one of the first teams to completely abandon our original colors and we were purple and teal, and for years, we had MLB asking us to consider changing our colors. We already had the Rockies with the purple. The purple never really matched up, and on TV, it looked more blue. The purple and teal was somewhat outdated.

“There was no red in our division, and they put on an entire presentation for us where baseball was showing us that we should be the color red because of the Sedona Mountains and the sky and we said, no, thank you, but the more we thought about it, it made sense. We’re such a young franchise, and you can do that.”

Peralta said that while gold is not a typical color for a baseball uniform, he thinks the unique look will appeal to fans. During a photoshoot ahead of the jersey reveal, the outfielder noticed a similar shade of gold on a snake’s skin to the one found on the jerseys.

“It’s just all about doing something different,” Peralta said. “The fans, the young guys, they like it, all of the kids. With these new uniforms, it’s different, and I think that’s the best part of that. People are going to be like, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen something like that.'”

Chicago White Sox Rookie Yermin Mercedes Makes MLB History with 8-for-8 Start

Yermin Mercedes continues his historic run…

The 28-year-old Dominican Chicago White Sox rookie got three hits in his first three at-bats on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels to improve to 8-for-8 to start 2021, the most consecutive hits to start a season by any player in the modern era (since 1900).

Yermin Mercedes

Mercedes, who had one major league at-bat entering the season, going 0-for-1 in 2020, has started at DH the past two games and tortured the Angels with his two-strike hitting — five of the eight hits have come with two strikes.

After homering in the second inning on Saturday for his first career home run, Mercedes’ eighth straight hit came in the sixth inning, a double that bounced off the warning track in left-center.

“I’m just trying to wait for my pitch and not do too much,” Mercedes said after the White Sox lost 5-3 in Anaheim. “Just stay right there and swing hard. It doesn’t matter if it is two strikes or no strikes, I just want to see the ball.” 

The eight hits:

Friday
1. Line-drive single off a 1-2 changeup from Andrew Heaney
2. Ground ball single off a 1-0 sinker from Javy Guerra
3. Line-drive single off an 0-1 cutter from Chris Rodriguez
4. Line-drive single off an 0-2 cutter from Mike Mayers
5. Double to left field off an 0-2 change from Alex Claudio

Saturday
6. 421-foot home run off a 2-2 splitter from Alex Cobb
7. Ground ball single off a 1-2 sinker from Cobb
8. Double to deep left-center off a 1-0 sinker from Cobb

In his ninth at-bat, Mercedes flew out to center field to end his streak. He finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored on Saturday.

“All of his hits have been clutch and he has been putting us in position to try to win,” manager Tony LaRussa said. “He has had a great approach, especially with two strikes.”

Mercedes is a rookie who has bounced around three organizations, originally signed by the Washington Nationals and spending time with the Baltimore Orioles before the White Sox signed him in 2018. He wasn’t expected to be a big part of the lineup, but Eloy Jimenez‘s injury has opened up playing time, with projected DH Andrew Vaughn starting the past two games in left field.

LaRussa said Mercedes was supposed to have the night off Saturday but that he earned his way into the lineup with his 5-for-5 night.

Mercedes has spent most of his time in the minor leagues at catcher but does own a .302 career minor league average, and in 2019, he hit .317/.388/.581 with 23 home runs in 95 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

“I never imagined that. It is great for me,” Mercedes said of his start. “Now, it’s a new day for me. I want to keep doing well and work with my approach. I want to play every day and I’m excited for that.”

Before Mercedes, the only player since 1900 to get five hits in his first career start was Cecil Travis, who went 5-for-7 for the Washington Senators in 1933.

The overall record for consecutive hits at any point in a season is 12, shared by the Chicago CubsJohnny Kling (1902) and two Boston Red Sox players, Pinky Higgins (1938) and Walt Dropo (1952).