Josh Rojas Ends Home Run Drought with Three Home Runs

Josh Rojas is officially on fire…

The 27-year-old Latino professional baseball star and Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman, who had yet to record a home run this season, hit three of them Friday afternoon in a 10-6 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Josh RojasIn the process, Rojas became the 13th player in team history to accomplish the feat.

“This was a pretty good feeling, especially coming into the game with zero and leaving with three,” Rojas said. “It’s a pretty awesome feeling.”

It was the first three-homer game of Rojas’ career. He’s the fourth player to go deep three times in a game this season, joining Boston Red Sox‘s Trevor Story, the New York Yankees‘ Anthony Rizzo and Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

He took advantage of the friendly hitting conditions at Wrigley Field, as the wind was blowing at 25 mph.

“I went out during batting practice and I knew it was blowing out pretty hard,” Rojas said. “I knew it would be a good day to put the ball in the air.”

Rojas, 27, homered off Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the third and fifth innings, then hit one off reliever Mychal Givens in the seventh. He is the second player in Diamondbacks history to tally his first three home runs of a season in the same game, joining Erubiel Durazo in 2002.

Rojas admitted he tried to hit a home run in his first at-bat but popped out; then, after hitting three home runs in his next three plate appearances, he once again attempted to hit one out and instead was called out on strikes.

“First at-bat I was trying to hit a homer,” Rojas said with a smile. “It didn’t work out … I was definitely trying to hit a fourth home run, especially with a good lead.”

Said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo: “When you try to generate, when you try to hit a home run — go back as far as little league — it never happens.”

The Diamondbacks’ seven home runs — the last of which came off the bat of Christian Walker, who leads the National League with 10 — marked the most a team has hit in a game this season.

Arizona left fielder David Peralta homered twice, while Chicago’s Christopher Morel and Ildemaro Vargas went back-to-back in the seventh. By the final out, the Diamondbacks and Cubs had combined to hit 11 home runs, tying the mark for most in a game at Wrigley Field.

It was the fifth game in Wrigley’s history to feature 11 combined home runs, and the first since 2006.

“These days [have] happened here, in this stadium, for a long, long time,” Lovullo said. “No lead is safe.”

Miguel Cabrera Becomes First Venezuelan Baseball Player to Join MLB’s 3,000-Hit Club

Miguel Cabrera makes Venezuelan MLB History while joining a new elite club…

With a single against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday, the 39-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player and Detroit Tigers designated hitter became the 33rd member of the 3,000-hit club and only the seventh player in major league history to achieve the milestone and hit 500 home runs.

Miguel CabreraHe got No. 3,000 in the first inning against pitcher Antonio Senzatela, a fellow Venezuelan, by grounding an opposite-field single to right field.

Cabrera immediately raised his right arm as he headed toward first base.

The crowd of 37,566 at Comerica Park gave him a rousing ovation and chanted “Miggy! Miggy!” while fireworks were shot out of the scoreboard. Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias, who played with Cabrera on the Tigers team, came over to give his former teammate a big hug.

By then, all the Tigers were streaming from the dugout to greet the newest member of baseball’s elite 3,000-hit club. Moments later, Cabrera went behind home plate to embrace his mother, wife, son and daughter on the field.

“Special numbers,” Cabrera said after the game. “It’s like something crazy you can’t describe. To be in this position, I always say thank God for giving me this opportunity.”

Cabrera soon returned to first base but didn’t stay there long. He scored on a three-run homer by 22-year-old rookie Spencer Torkelson, who has taken over as the Tigers’ regular first baseman with Cabrera in the role of designated hitter.

When the inning ended, the scoreboard flashed “Congratulations Miggy” and Cabrera emerged from the dugout to wave to fans who had been rewarded with the highlight they came to see.

“It brings a lot of memories from the first time I was here in Detroit,” Cabrera said of the crowd. “I remember we always had 35,000, 40,000 people every night. It was good to see the fans come back to the stadium like that. It was very emotional. I know what the fans mean to our games and to our team because they support us a lot. I really happy to see all the fans.”

Cabrera added a two-run single in the sixth inning before being replaced by pinch runner Eric Haase. The Tigers went on to win 13-0. Cabrera said it meant “a lot” for him to reach the milestone in a win.

“Because I always say, if we’re winning, I know the results are going to be good,” he said. “We did it today, I’m pretty happy.

After reaching 2,999 hits Wednesday, Cabrera was 0-for-3 on Thursday against the New York Yankees. He was intentionally walked in the eighth inning, his fourth and final plate appearance of the game. Cabrera’s pursuit of history was delayed Friday, as the Tigers’ scheduled series opener against the Rockies was rained out, made up as part of a Saturday doubleheader.

Cabrera is the first Venezuelan-born player and seventh Latino to reach the 3,000-hit mark, a list that includes Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Rod Carew as well as Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols. Luis Aparicio, the only Venezuelan-born player in the Hall of Fame, had 2,677 career hits.

“When you’re going through it, you’ve got to kind of try to appreciate it because his impact is so big across this organization and across so many players, that we just got to sit back and soak it up,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “And I think for him as a person, as a player who’s gone through ups, downs, everywhere in between. This is certainly a highlight.”

Cabrera, who won the Triple Crown and the first of back-to-back MVP awards in 2012, became the 28th member of the 500-home run club in August. Only six other players have 3,000 hits and 500 homers: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Palmeiro, Pujols, Rodriguez and Eddie Murray.

Cabrera’s Triple Crown win in 2012, having led the American League in batting average, home runs and RBIs, was the first in 45 years. The 11-time MLB All-Star has won four batting titles in his career.

Cabrera was 20 years old when he made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut with the Miami Marlins in 2003. He helped them win the World Series that year.

The Tigers acquired Cabrera in a 2007 trade, with Dontrelle Willis also going to Detroit in a deal for Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. Cabrera had 842 hits at the time.

He is the third player to get his 3,000th hit while with Detroit, joining Ty Cobb and Al Kaline.

Carlos Correa Agrees to Three-Year, $105.3 Million Contract with Minnesota Twins

Carlos Correa is Twinning

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop has agreed to a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Minnesota Twins that includes opt-outs after the first two seasons, according to ESPN.

Carlos Correa

Correa’s deal, which was first reported by Fox 26 Houston, will pay him $35.1 million in each of the three years, sources said.

Correa’s choice to play with the Twins comes as a surprise, given the team has lost 18 consecutive postseason games and finished last in the AL Central a year ago at 73-89.

His average salary makes him the highest paid Latino in the MLB, as he becomes baseball’s fourth highest behind New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer ($43.3 million), New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole ($36 million) and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout ($35.5 million).

 

A two-time MLB All-Star who was the first pick in the 2012 amateur draft, Correa led the Houston Astros‘ turnaround. Houston lost more than 100 games each year from 2011-13, then won its first World Series title by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in 2017.

He’s coming off perhaps his best season, posting a career-best 7.2 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com, which ranked third in the American League. He hit .279 with 26 homers, 92 RBIs and 104 runs for the Astros. The oft-injured Correa played in 148 games, his most since the 2016 season.

It was also Correa’s most decorated season. He appeared in the All-Star Game, finished fifth in AL MVP balloting, won his first Gold Glove at shortstop and was awarded a Platinum Glove by Rawlings as the AL’s top overall defender. Since Correa broke in for the Astros in 2015, he ranks sixth among all position players in WAR (34.1).

For all his regular-season exploits, Correa has been even more accomplished during the postseason. Since his first appearance for Houston in 2015, Correa ranks third among all players in postseason homers (18). His 59 RBIs in the playoffs are 10 more than any other player during that span.

Still, Correa remains a controversial figure because of his association with the sign-stealing scandal that tainted the Astros’ 2017 World Series title, and his adamant defense about the legitimacy of the championship. Before the 2020 season, he told reporters, “When you analyze the games, we won fair and square. We earned that championship.”

Despite the controversies, Correa is respected around the game as a clubhouse leader.

“If your best player is not a good leader, they can take you down the wrong road,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of Correa during the 2021 playoffs. “Carlos is in the great category.”

Minnesota has not been to the World Series since winning the 1991 title and has lost its past eight postseason series since beating Oakland in a 2002 AL Division Series.

Correa has enjoyed great success in Minnesota as a visiting player, though. He has a .413 batting average (26-for-63) at Target Field with five homers and 20 RBIs in 15 games. His 1.205 OPS is his highest at any ballpark where he has played four or more games.

Correa became a free agent after rejecting the Astros’ qualifying offer, worth $18.4 million. As a result of his departure, Houston will recoup a compensatory draft pick.

Correa was the top overall pick of the 2012 amateur draft after being selected by Houston out of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy. He then went on to win AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

Eric Chavez To Join New York Mets as the Team’s Hitting Coach

Eric Chavez is headed crosstown…

The New York Mets have reportedly agreed to hire the 44-year-old Mexican American professional baseball coach and former third baseman as their hitting coach, just weeks after he joined the New York Yankees as an assistant hitting coach, according to ESPN.

Eric Chavez

Neither team has spoken publicly on the matter, but the transition, while uncommon, was said to have been executed in good faith.

Chavez, who was announced as part of Aaron Boone‘s staff with the Yankees on December 20, now will help make up the burgeoning staff of longtime manager Buck Showalter and join Mets general manager Billy Eppler for the third time.

Chavez, a six-time Gold Glove third baseman during a playing career that spanned 17 years, was hired by the Yankees as a special assignment scout in 2015 when Eppler served as assistant GM.

When Eppler presided over the Los Angeles Angels‘ baseball-operations department shortly thereafter, he hired Chavez as a special assistant and later named him manager of the team’s Triple-A affiliate.

The Mets have also brought in Joey Cora to be their third-base coach and will reportedly add Wayne Kirby as first-base coach.

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.

Eric Chavez to Serve as New York Yankees Assistant Hitting Coach

Eric Chavez is headed to the New York…

The New York Yankees have finalized manager Aaron Boone‘s staff for 2022, with the 44-year-old Mexican American former professional baseball third baseman joining the team.

Eric ChavezChavez, who won six Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger Award during his professional career, will serve as an assistant hitting coach alongside Casey Dykes.

Other new coaching staff members include hitting coach Dillon Lawson, third-base/outfield coach Luis Rojas, first-base/infield coach Travis Chapman and assistant pitching coach Desi Druschel.

Bench coach Carlos Mendoza and pitching coach Matt Blake are back for their third seasons in pinstripes, while bullpen coach Mike Harkey returns for a 13th year.

New York fired hitting coach Marcus Thames, third-base coach Phil Nevin and assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere after the Yankees went 92-70 and lost the American League Wild Card Game against the Boston Red Sox. First-base coach Reggie Willits left to coach at the University of Oklahoma.

Chavez had a 17-year MLB career and spent the past five seasons as a special assistant with the Los Angeles Angels.

 

Rojas was fired by the New York Mets in October after two underwhelming years as manager. The 40-year-old Latino baseballer was with the Mets organization for 16 years. He was replaced in Queens by Buck Showalter, who held his introductory news conference Tuesday.

 

Chavez, 44, who played third base for the Yankees, Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks, was in the mix for Rojas’ old job with the Mets, before they ultimately hired Showalter.

Jhoulys Chacín Agrees to One-Year, Guaranteed $1.25 Million Contract with Colorado Rockies

The Rockies times will continue for Jhoulys Chacín

The 33-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball right-handed pitcher has agreed to a guaranteed $1.25 million, one-year contract with the Colorado Rockies that allows him to earn an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses.

Chacin was 3-2 with a 4.34 ERA in a career-high 45 relief appearances and one start for Colorado, which signed him on April 1 after he was released from a minor league contract by the New York Yankees near the end of spring training.

He became a free agent after the World Series.

Chacín is 81-89 with a 4.06 ERA in 227 starts and 76 relief appearances in 13 seasons with Colorado (2009-14, 2021), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2015), Atlanta Braves (2016), the Los Angeles Angels (2016), San Diego Padres (2017), Milwaukee Brewers (2018-19), Boston Red Sox (2019) and Atlanta (2020).

Chacín would earn $125,000 for making five starts and for each additional five through 20 and $125,000 for 30 pitching appearances and each additional 10 through 60. His total bonuses are capped at $500,000.

Houston Astros Reportedly Offer Carlos Correa a Five-Year Contract Worth $160 million

Carlos Correa has a Astro-nomical offer to consider…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional baseball shortstop, currently a free agent, has been offered a five-year contract worth $160 million by the Houston Astros, according to reports.

Carlos Correa

Correa, whose name has been brought up by many this offseason to potentially fill the New York Yankees’ need at shortstop, slashed .279/.366/.485 this past season with 26 homers, 34 doubles and 92 RBI in 148 games for the Astros’ high-powered offense.

Selected to the MLB All-Star team in 2017 and 2021, Correa has spent seven seasons in Houston and won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2015 with the Astros.

The former number one overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, Correa is fresh off a World Series appearance against the Atlanta Braves where he hit .261 with one double, four RBI and no home runs.

In 2017, he helped the Astros win their first championship in franchise history against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a .276 average and two home runs.

Randy Arozarena Makes MLB Playoff History by Stealing Home & Hitting Homer in Same Game

Randy Arozarena has made MLB playoff history…

The 26-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays – the leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year — made history Thursday by becoming the first player in playoff history to steal home and hit a home run in the same game during Tampa Bay’s 5-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Randy Arozarena

The swipe marked the first steal of home in a playoff game since 2016, when Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez pulled off the feat in the National League Championship Series, and the first straight steal of home in a playoff game since Jackie Robinson‘s against Yogi Berra and the New York Yankees in 1955.

“I noticed the pitcher kind of wasn’t keeping attention to me. I was able to take a big enough lead and take that base,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “That’s the first time I’ve ever stolen home.”

Arozarena, who is still a rookie despite setting postseason records with 10 home runs and 29 hits in 20 games during the 2020 playoffs, stole home against Boston reliever Josh Taylor to make the score 5-0 in the seventh inning after drawing a walk.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Arozarena had been asking him about stealing home for weeks. During the 2020 World Series, Rays outfielder Manuel Margot was thrown out when he attempted a similar steal off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, but Arozarena kept insisting.

“He’s asked me all season long, ‘Verde, verde, verde’ — green light,” Cash said. “We finally gave it to him.”

Arozarena easily beat the throw home to catcher Christian Vazquez via headfirst slide.

Arozarena ranks second for the most home runs in a 20-game postseason span, tied with Carlos Beltran and Jim Thome with 11 and trailing just Babe Ruth, who leads with 12. His 11 career postseason home runs are five more than any other rookie in MLB history, with Evan Longoria ranking second with six.

Asked about his playoff success, Arozarena said the stakes create a desire to meet the moment.

“I just focus a little bit more,” Arozarena said. “Luckily it’s happening in October, when it means it’s closer to the World Series.”

Teofimo Lopez to Fight George Kambosos in October

Teofimo Lopez is officially ready to rumble…

The 24-year-old Honduran American boxer and George Kambosos have signed contracts for an undisputed lightweight title fight that will take place on October 4 at New York’s Hulu Theater at MSG, Triller COO Thorsten Meier tells ESPN.

Teofimo Lopez

The fight was set for October 5, but Triller moved the fight to avoid competing with a potential wild-card playoff game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in New York. If the MLB season ended today, that game would take place on October 5.

“We want to make sure the sporting fans can see both amazing events,” Meier said.

Lopez-Kambosos will be the rare Monday evening boxing match in a sport that usually — with rare exception — holds its notable events on Saturday. It’s yet another date change for the seemingly snakebitten event.

Triller won the rights to the fight at a February purse bid with $6.018 million. The fight was planned for June 5 before it was officially set for June 19 in Miami. In the days leading up to the bout, Lopez tested positive for COVID-19.

Triller announced a rescheduled date of August 14 before it looked to stage the fight on October 17 in Sydney, Australia. Lopez balked at the government-mandated 14-day quarantine, leading to a legal battle. The IBF ultimately ruled the fight couldn’t take place in a location that requires quarantine.

The bout between Lopez, a Brooklyn native, and Kambosos, a 28-year-old Australian, was then planned for October 5.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is ESPN‘s No. 1 lightweight and No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter. He won the undisputed championship in October with a unanimous-decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), ESPN’s No. 9 lightweight, earned the title shot with a split-decision win over Lee Selby later that month.