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.

Toronto Blue Jays to Celebrate Tony Fernandez with Special Uniform Patch This Season

Tony Fernandez is being honored in a special way by his old team…

The Toronto Blue Jays will celebrate the late Dominican professional baseball player and Major League Baseball legend, who passed away earlier this year, by wearing a patch with his No. 1 on the left sleeve of uniform jerseys this season.

Tony Fernandez

A member of Toronto’s 1993 World Series champions who had nine RBIs in the six-game win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Fernandez had kidney problems and died on February 16 at age 57.

He is the Blue Jays’ career leader in games (1,450), hits (1,583) and triples (72). He spent 12 seasons with Toronto in four stints and had a .288 batting average and 2,276 hits over 17 big league seasons. Fernandez also played for the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets and New York YankeesCleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. He was a five-time MLB All-Star.

“There are few players in the game who can impact a team and a fan base the way Tony did in Toronto,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “Beyond his impressive career numbers, achievements, and accolades, Tony resonated with baseball fans because of how he played the game and conducted himself as a teammate.”

Yasiel Puig to Sign with the Atlanta Braves

It’s a brave new world for Yasiel Puig

The 29-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and free agent is signing with the Atlanta Braves, according to a report by MLB.com.

Yasiel Puig

The agreement comes after Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of the 2020 season earlier this month.

An MLB All-Star in 2014, Puig batted .267 in 149 games last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians

He hit .297 with Cleveland after being acquired on July 30 and gave the Indians an infusion of power and energy, helping their ultimately fruitless surge to catch the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title.

The boisterous right fielder was part of a wild fight between the Reds and Pirates mere hours before he was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade that sent right-hander Trevor Bauer from Cleveland to Cincinnati. 

Puig was suspended three games for his aggressive actions on what turned out to be his last day with the Reds.

Puig, who joined the Reds in a December 2018 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has a career batting average of .277. Perhaps his best overall offensive season was in 2017, when he batted .263 with a career-high 28 home runs and 74 RBIs.

The NL East champion Braves were facing a depth problem in their outfield even after they signed Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal in the offseason.

Markakis opted out of the season before summer camp. Ozuna or Adam Duvall could be needed as the designated hitter in the shortened 60-game season.

The team’s shortage of outfielders was highlighted when rookie Cristian Pache jammed his right ankle in Monday night’s intrasquad game and was not available Tuesday.

“We’re thin a little bit,” manager Brian Snitker said Tuesday. “We started this thing feeling really good about the depth, and we’ve used all of it already, as I think a lot of teams have. We’re stretched a little bit.”

If Ozuna is the primary designated hitter, Puig could join Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ender Inciarte in a starting outfield.

Puig, who has a .285 career average against right-handers, will be expected to replace Markakis’ production.

Puig, who defected from Cuba in 2012, was popular with Dodgers fans during his six years in L.A. for his colorful personality, home run trots and ability to throw runners out from right field. He made headlines away from the field when his Los Angeles home was burglarized multiple times.

At the ballpark, he was benched at times, and the team considered trading him long before it did because of his perceived lack of hustle or interest in following orders.

Anthony Rendon Begins Los Angeles Angels Career with 1.000 Batting Average

Anthony Rendon has started his MLBrun with a new team with a bang…

The 29-year-old Mexican American professional baseball player, who helped the Washington Nationals win the World Series last year, left his first game in a new uniform with a 1.000 batting average.

Anthony Rendon

Rendon went 2-for-2 in his spring training debut with the Los Angeles Angels, driving in a run and scoring one Tuesday during a 7-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Back from spending time with his wife and newborn child, the MLB All-Starthird baseman played three innings on the field.

“It’s inevitable. You’ve got to get out there every day to get comfortable,” Rendon said. “So day one, you take in stride and take it slow, too. Not try to get too crazy.”

Rendon, who signed a $245 million, seven-year contract as a free agent in December, was just one of the big-name Angels players to play for the first time this February. He batted third, between AL MVP Mike Troutand designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, the two-way star from Japan who also pitches.

Outfielder Justin Uptonand first baseman Albert Pujolsalso were in the lineup for the first time.

“Definitely exciting. Just trying to see how it’s going to pan out throughout the year,” Rendon said. “Kind of getting used to each other and getting in the dugout and seeing what guys’ routines are, and you don’t want to get in anybody’s way at all.”

The major league leader in RBI last season, Rendon has hit .301 or better the past three seasons, with two 100-RBI campaigns. He has totaled 83 home runs in that span, including a career-high 34 last season.

Last October, his home run off Zack Greinkebegan Washington’s late rally in Game 7 at Houston for the championship.

“Right now he’s one of the better clutch hitters in the game. He almost 100 percent of the time works a great at-bat,” Angels manager Joe Maddonsaid. “He is one of those dudes that can handle good pitching well and you can’t say that about everybody.”

Rendon heard the cheers from the small crowd at Tempe Diablo Stadiumas he walked up for his first at-bat as an Angel in the bottom of the first inning. He worked the count to 3-and-2 before lining a single to left field, moving Trout to second base.

Rendon scored easily from second base on Pujols’ two-out, bases-loaded single.

In the second, Rendon picked up his first RBI wearing Angels red when he sliced a two-out, opposite-field single to right field to drive in David Fletcher.

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.

Aristides Aquino Breaks National League Rookie Mark for Home Runs in a Month

It’s been a banner month for Aristides Aquino.

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds broke the National League rookie mark for homers in a month with his 14th in August in his team’s 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Thursday night.

Aristides Aquino

Aquino hit a two-run homer in the first for Cincinnati, and his two-out RBI single in the eighth tied it at 3.

Aquino broke the rookie record of 13 in a month set by the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger in June 2017. The Major League Baseball (MLB) record by a rookie is 18 by the Detroit Tigers‘ Rudy York in August 1937.

Reds manager David Bell’s reaction to his outfielder’s latest achievement?

“Speechless,” Bell said. “Guys are having fun watching him and what he’s doing. Pretty special.”

Aquino, who was promoted from the minors on August 1, tied the Reds record for homers by a player in a month held by Frank Robinson (1962) and Greg Vaughn (1999). He leads the majors with 32 RBIs this month.

Aristides Aquino Becomes First MLB Player to Hit Eight Home Runs in First 12 Career Games

Aristides Aquino has etched his name in the annals of Major League Baseball history…

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a rookie outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds, went deep against the Washington Nationals on Monday night, making him the first player in MLB history to hit eight home runs in his first 12 career games.

Aristides Aquino

Aquino’s latest blast came on a mammoth solo shot against Nats reliever Tanner Rainey. With two outs in the top of the eighth inning of Cincy’s 7-6 loss, Aquino crushed a 98 mph fastball from Rainey and drilled it over the fence in right-center field, 425 feet away.

Nicknamed “The Punisher” by his brother when he was growing up, Aquino — who appeared in one game last season — has been pulverizing baseballs since getting called up on Aug. 1.

In 11 games since his promotion, the 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound slugger is hitting .429 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs. All eight of his homers have come in the Reds’ past nine games, and he’s gone yard seven times in his past six contests, a torrid streak that helped earn him National League Player of the Week honors earlier on Monday.

It’s a heady start for a player who was non-tendered this past offseason, and who wasn’t considered a highly regarded prospect heading into the 2019 campaign.

“I think it’s the timing,” Aquino said through an interpreter. “It’s the perfect timing, and God has a plan. I just want to go out there and do the best that I can do.”

So far, Aquino’s best has been better than anything his teammates have witnessed.

“A lot of us say we’ve never seen anything like it, and that would explain it,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It’s never happened before. We’ve been talking about him now, and the great thing is, with the success, just the way he’s handling it, just his maturity level. He’s handled it with a lot of poise, and we believe in him. We believe that he’s going to keep going.”

Prior to getting called up, Aquino was hitting .299 with 28 homers and 53 RBIs in 78 games with Triple-A Louisville. Previously, four hitters shared the record of seven home runs in their first 12 career games. The most recent occurrence was in June of this year, when Houston Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez accomplished the feat.

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).

Yasiel Puig Makes Cleveland Indians Debut

Yasiel Puig is seeing red…

The 28-year-old Cuban professional baseball player was so eager to make his Cleveland Indians debut, he forgot to check out his footwear before walking around the clubhouse.

Yasiel Puig

The slugger was wearing Cincinnati Reds flip-flops with his Cleveland workout gear on Thursday, two days after being acquired from Cinci in a three-team trade that also included the San Diego Padres.

“My bad,” Puig said, laughing. “I came straight to see you guys. You’re not going to see that one again.”

While his footwear didn’t match, Puig’s hair was dyed the color of the Indians’ red jerseys.

Puig started in right field and hit cleanup for the series finale against the Houston Astros. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in a 7-1 loss.

Fellow newcomer Franmil Reyes batted sixth as the designated hitter and went 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout. The Indians are hoping the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Puig and the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Reyes can bring their much-needed power to a team that has closed the gap on the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins.

Reyes came over from the Padres in the seven-player swap that featured Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer going to Cincinnati and Reds elite prospect Taylor Trammell being sent to the San Diego Padres.

“With God giving me another opportunity, bringing me to Cleveland, I can make my dream come true with this team,” said Puig, who batted .252 with 22 home runs, 61 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 100 games with the Reds. “Keep going, make the playoffs again, fight in the playoffs.

“With Houston, the New York Yankees, no matter who’s coming, we’re going to fight and do the best we can like a family and like a team together and win the championship. This team has potential and good players to go to the World Series.”

In his final contest with Cincinnati, Puig was part of a wild brawl against the Pittsburgh Pirates that resulted in a three-game suspension. Puig learned of his trade shortly after being ejected; he is appealing his punishment, meaning he can play until there is a resolution.

Puig said it was difficult to conceal his happiness about joining a playoff contender while he was among his Reds teammates.

“I started laughing, but I didn’t want to get too excited, because I needed to respect my [former] team because we lost and were coming back from an altercation,” Puig said. “My friends said they needed to buy a new hat and a new jersey, but I said, OK, this is part of the job. We’re going to be in a better place.”

Free agent to-be Puig said he has been friends with Indians first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop Francisco Lindor for several years. He was on an MLB-sponsored trip to Japan with Cleveland manager Terry Franconain 2014.

The Indians and Reds share a spring training facility in Goodyear, Arizona, so he also is familiar with many other people within the Cleveland organization.

“Everybody is talking about Tito being an amazing manager and an amazing person, so I’m excited to be next to him and to start talking to him,” Puig said. “I’m feeling he can help me a lot in these next three months to be a better baseball player and a better person off the field.”

Reyes, who hit .255 with 27 homers and 46 RBIs in 99 games with San Diego, has a unique tie to the area. He met his wife, Marian, while playing in a Class A game for Fort Wayne at Lake County, whose ballpark is located in the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake.

The 24-year-old Reyes quickly became a fan favorite with the Padres, and he believes the same will be true in his new home.

“When I got the news, the first thing I told my wife was, ‘It’s crazy, we’re getting back to where we started,'” he said. “So Cleveland is really special for me. I know I’m going to have a lot of love from the city.”

San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval Makes History Against Cincinnati Reds

Pablo Sandoval has etched his name into the annals of sports history…

The 32-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player became the first Major League Baseball player since 1905 to hit a home run, steal a base and post a scoreless outing in the same game.

Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval achieved the feat in the San Francisco Giants‘ 12-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.

The only other time the feat was achieved, it was also accomplished by a Giants player in a game against the Reds.MLB Hall of FameChristy Mathewsonthrew nine shutout innings, hit a homer and stole a base in a victory on May 23, 1905, according to the Elias Sports Bureau‘s data.

Chief Johnsonof the Kansas City Packersalso accomplished this feat playing in the Federal Leagueon August 14, 1915.

Sandoval’s steal of third base in the second inning of Monday’s game was his first stolen base since the 2012 season. His home run Monday was a three-run shot in the sixth inning that cut the Giants’ deficit at the time to 7-4. He has three home runs this season.

In his scoreless inning Monday, which came during the eighth inning, he hit Jose Peraza to lead off the inning but got Josh VanMeter to fly out and induced a ground ball double-play off the bat of Nick Senzel. When Sandoval hit Peraza, it marked the fifth time in Monday’s game that a Reds player was hit by a pitch, tying a National Leaguerecord.

Sandoval has now pitched two innings in his career and has not allowed a run.