Albert Pujols Sets MLB Record for Career Hits by a Foreign-Born Player

Albert Pujolsis making Major League Baseballhistory…

The 39-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a first baseman and designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, had two hits and three RBIs during Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, setting the MLB record for career hits by a foreign-born player.

Albert Pujols

“I mean, what more can we say? He’s one of the greatest players to ever play the game, one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “And he’s going to pass some other names I’m sure that are very well known and have plaques hanging in Cooperstown.”

Pujols had an RBI single in the 4th inning. His 3,167th hit moved him past fellow Dominican Republic native Adrian Beltre (3,166) and into sole possession of 15th place for career hits.

“He just keeps doing what he does,” said Dillon Peters, who allowed two runs in six innings while striking out six after an erratic start. “Everybody here looks up to him, and it’s just awesome to watch him chase his dream and chase all the milestones he’s already overcome. And there’s going to be more to come.”

Pujols drove in Los Angeles’ first run with his record-setting single, helping spark the struggling Angels to their fifth win in the past 18 games. 

“Forget about the record. It’s my job to come here every night and try to help this ball club to win when I can,” Pujols said. “With my defense or with my offense when I get that opportunity, and that’s what I did tonight. It was an effort where everybody contributed.”

Detroit Tigers Designated Hitter Victor Martinez Registers 2,000th Career Hit

And the hits just keep coming for Victor Martinez

The 38-year-old Venezuelan baseball player, a designated hitter and first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, reached 2,000 career hits on Friday night.

Victor Martinez

Martinez, heard the crowd roar and felt his heart swell, as he picked up the milestone hit on the same field where he began his MLB career, against the franchise that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela.

Detroit’s switch-hitter singled in the second inning off Cleveland IndiansCarlos Carrasco to reach the plateau. After reaching first base, Martinez received a lengthy standing ovation from the large Cleveland crowd, fans that adored him during his eight seasons with the Indians from 2002-09.

Martinez hugged Detroit first-base coach Omar Vizquel, his teammate in Cleveland and a fellow Venezuelan, before tipping his cap to the crowd. Players on both benches applauded and the game was briefly halted to acknowledge the feat.

“It’s special to have it done here,” Martinez said following the Tigers’ 11-2 loss. “For me, it was even better. Nothing against the Indians, I feel like it’s where everything started for me. I will always remember this day, until I die. What the fans did to me with that ovation. It made me feel so proud and so good that they stand up for me. I just want to let them know too that I will always have the Indians in my heart, always.”

Martinez is the ninth active player to reach 2,000 hits, joining Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Matt Holliday and Jose Reyes.

To attain the milestone in Cleveland and with Vizquel, the career hits leader among Venezuelan-born players, at his side made it even more meaningful for Martinez.

“He congratulated me and told me it was awesome, and at the same time, I wasn’t hearing and stuff,” Martinez said. “It was a pretty cool moment.”

Martinez was a three-time All-Star with the Indians, who signed him in 1996. He broke down in tears when Cleveland traded him to the Boston Red Sox at the deadline in 2009 for three pitchers.

And although he’s had a long run with the Tigers, Cleveland will remain dear to Martinez.

“This is my seventh year in Detroit, but this was a place that I called home, and I’m always going to have Cleveland in my heart,” he said. “It was the team that gave me a chance to be a professional baseball player, gave me a chance to become a major leaguer. It’s a pretty special place.”

Martinez, too, is a pretty special hitter.

He entered the season with a .301 career average and the five-time All-Star has been one of the game’s toughest outs from the day he broke into the big leagues.

“There aren’t a lot of people who can say they got 2,000 major league hits,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He probably grinded out every single one of those at-bats to get those hits. It’s something he should be proud of.”

Moya Hits First Multi-Home Run Game Against the Seattle Mariners

It’s one milestone after another for Steven Moya

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican baseball player, an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, reached one milestone this week — hitting his first home run in the club’s last road series against the Kansas City Royals.

Steven Moya

And it only took him three days before reaching another significant achievement — a multi-home run game.

With an extended stay in right field following the injury to regular outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is sidelined four to six weeks with a fractured elbow, Moya is making sure that the Tigers aren’t experiencing any drop-off at the plate.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound prospect flashed his power at Comerica Park, going deep in both the fourth and fifth innings of the Tigers’ 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Moya admitted he felt a little bit of pressure alleviated after recording his first home run at Kauffman Stadium, which bolstered his confidence in his ability to produce at the major league level.

“After the first one, it was like, ‘OK, I can hit home runs here,’” Moya said. “It feels good. I just try to repeat it over and over and try to get a good pitch to do it. That’s what I try to do.”

Following his solo shot in the fourth inning, Moya showed his range and versatility by going opposite field in the next frame, launching an 83 mph changeup to left field to give the Tigers a four-run lead.

“He’ll go to all fields. That’s not a rarity for him,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

Ausmus is even more impressed by the progress Moya has made on his discipline at the plate, which has previously been a concern for him while down in the minors.

“He’s worked very hard to be more selective in his swings, to lay off pitches outside of the zone, cut down his strikeouts. He’s done a nice job,” Ausmus said. “He had a good year two years ago, kind of a breakout year. Last year was a bit of a down year for him, and this year, he’s picked up right where he was in 2014.”

Moya’s production couldn’t come at a better time for the Tigers. They could have been left reeling in the wake of the injury to Martinez, who led the team last season with 38 home runs.

Regular reps, and the knowledge that he won’t be just shuttling back and forth from Toledo this time around, has been beneficial for Moya, but he insists he doesn’t view this as an audition to prove his value to the organization.

“I think that they already know what I can do,” Moya said. “I don’t have anything to prove. I just have to play and have fun and let God take care of the rest.”

Sánchez Nearing Return to the Detroit Tigers Roster

Aníbal Sánchez may be return to the pitcher’s mound soon…

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers threw about 50 pitches in a simulated game Sunday and could possibly be activated this week.

Aníbal Sánchez

Sánchez, the right-hander who holds the Tigers franchise record for strikeouts in a single game (17), went on the disabled list Aug. 9 with a strained right chest muscle. The simulated game came before the before the Tigers played an away game against Kansas City Royals.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus says if Sanchez feels good the next few days “my guess is he’d be activated Wednesday or Thursday.” Sanchez is 8-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 21 starts, and Ausmus says he could be used in relief.

Catcher Alex Avila has not played since Sept. 14 because of a concussion but could be available Monday if he feels fine and passes concussion clearance tests. Avila is hitting .223 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs.

Renteria Reportedly Set to Become New Chicago Cubs Manager

Rick Renteria is readying for Cub duty…

The 51-year-old Mexican American baseball coach, currently serving as the bench coach for the San Diego Padres, will soon be serving as the new manager for the Chicago Cubs, according to sources.

Rick Renteria

Renteria has been the bench coach for the Padres since 2011 after becoming a major league coach in 2008. He played infield for parts of five major league seasons after being drafted 20th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1980.

Renteria, who retired as a player in 1996 while with the Mexico City Reds, beat out A.J. Hinch, Manny ActaDave Martinez and Eric Wedge for the job. A fifth candidate, Brad Ausmus, was hired by the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week.

Renteria is known as a hands-on teacher and a strong communicator. His ability to speak Spanish is believed to be a plus for the Cubs. Sources familiar with the process say the team was intent on hiring a Latin-American manager and/or coaches, something lacking on the previous coaching staff.

Chicago has several key players of Latin-American descent, including shortstop Starlin Castro, who regressed under former manager Dale Sveum.

“In order for us to win with this group — and win consistently — we must have the best possible environment for young players to learn, develop and thrive at the major league level,” said team representatives after Sveum was fired.