Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez is poised to join the ownership ranks, though not in the sport that made him famous as he prepares to take over NBA franchise the Minnesota Timberwolves.

MLB great Rodriguez and former Walmart executive Marc Lore have reached an agreement to buy the Timberwolves from long-time owner Glen Taylor pending league approval, the team said on Friday. 

Multiple news outlets reported the pair will pay $1.5billion for the Timberwolves, the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, the G League's Iowa Wolves and the eSports franchise T-Wolves Gaming. 

The 80-year-old Taylor bought the Timberwolves in 1994 for $88million. 

Rodriguez and Lore entered into a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Taylor on April 10, but it took a few additional days after that window closed to finalise the deal. 

When word that Rodriguez could purchase the team broke last month, the Timberwolves' top young player, Anthony Edwards, made headlines by saying he had no idea who the 14-time MLB All-Star and World Series champion was. 

By now, Edwards – number one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft – is well aware of Rodriguez and his background. 

Rodriguez – a three-time American League (AL) MVP – hit .295 with 696 home runs across a 22-year career with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees before retiring in 2016. 

But the latter stages of his career were dogged by rumours of performance-enhancing drug use, and he was suspended for the entire 2014 season after violating MLB's drug policy. 

He has since served as a television analyst for ESPN and Fox Sports but reportedly had been looking to buy a team in recent years. 

Rodriguez, Lore and Rodriguez's then-fiancee –actress and singer Jennifer Lopez – put in a bid for the New York Mets last year but lost out to Steve Cohen. 

 

 

Shohei Ohtani's next start for the Los Angeles Angels has been pushed back due to fatigue, according to manager Joe Maddon.

Ohtani was scheduled to start on the mound against the Cleveland Indians in MLB action on Tuesday but those plans have changed.

Maddon said the Angels are being cautious with the two-way star, who remained in the line-up as a designated hitter against the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

"We're going to move him back, but we don't know to when," Maddon said prior Friday's clash with the Red Sox.

"But there's no blisters. Nothing. Just being proactive. It's in his best interest, too.

"To me, the day after he pitched the other day, he looked a little bit fatigued at the plate. It set off a little bit of an alarm for me."

Japanese sensation Ohtani has been red-hot for the Angels this season.

On the mound, Ohtani boasts a 2.10 ERA through five starts, with 40 strikeouts while allowing just 11 hits, six earned runs and two homers after giving up just one run across seven innings against the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Ohtani, meanwhile, has 11 home runs as a hitter this season, plus 37 hits, 27 runs and 27 RBI. He boasts a .266 batting average, .311 OBP, .604 SLG and .915 OPS.

Maddon added: "We're just giving him time to recover. I'm just concerned about when he's going so well offensively and maybe if he's a little fatigued, he'll want to keep going back out there again.

"If you're feeling good, you might wanna fight that fatigue. But I think the conversations, as we get deeper into the season, will be a little bit more involved.

"I expected that from the beginning and we're not there yet, but you want to avoid any fatigue that can compromise him in any way."

Corbin Burnes broke all sorts of records although it was not enough to lift the Milwaukee Brewers who lost 2-0 to the St Louis Cardinals in MLB on Thursday.

The Brewers pitcher had nine strikeouts across five innings to reach the most strikeouts before issuing a walk to start a season, going past Kenley Jansen's record of 51 from 2017. The next best was Adam Wainwright's 2013 mark of 35.

Burnes was not done there, though, also surpassing New York Yankees' pitcher Gerrit Cole's active record (56) for most consecutive strikeouts without a walk.

The right-hander reached 58 straight before his run eventually ended, walking Tommy Edman with two out in the fifth.

Cardinals pair Jake Flaherty and Alex Reyes played a pivotal role, restricting the Brewers to no runs in a crucial win for two sides who have started the 2021 season well.

St Louis scored in the first and the ninth to secure the win which moves them to 23-15.

 

Yankees woes worsen, 41-year-old Hill rises

The New York Yankees are experiencing COVID issues with the eighth case among their squad this week, despite being fully vaccinated although Gleyber Torres is the only player currently impacted.

Amid that the Yankees were given a lesson by the Tampa Bay Rays who won 9-1, after being held to only four runs in their opening two games of their series.

Veteran left-hander Rich Hill had nine strikeouts for the Rays. The 41-year-old is the oldest active player in the majors.

Austin Meadows hit his eighth home run of the season while Randy Arozarena hit a three-run homer off Michael King at the bottom of the sixth to seal an emphatic win.

The Houston Astros enjoyed a dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory over the Texas Rangers with Myles Straw crossing for the decisive run.

Chas McCormick thought he had won it for the Astros in the 10th when he dived for home base but Joey Gallo's rocket arm saw him tagged short of the plate.

But in the bottom of the 11th, with McCormick up and bases loaded, Straw swooped on an error by the catcher to get the Astros home.

The Chicago White Sox won 4-2 over the Minnesota Twins to move to 22-13 while the San Francisco Giants improved to 23-14 with a 3-1 victory at the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

Manaea's Fenway Park curse

Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea had a tough day at the office conceding seven runs in the first two innings of the Boston Red Sox's 8-1 win over Oakland. Manaea has a poor record at Fenway Park, with an ERA of 15.7, the highest at the venue since ERA became official in 1913.

 

Dozen Acuna home runs

Ronald Acuna Jr got the ball rolling and moved back to the outright lead for most home runs this season with his 12th homer in the Atlanta Braves' 8-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. The homer was Acuna Jr's 21st lead-off home-run since 2018. Sadly he went off injured later on.

 

Thursday's results

Toronto Blue Jays 8-4 Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals 5-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Detroit Tigers 4-3 Kansas City Royals
St Louis Cardinals 2-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago White Sox 4-2 Minnesota Twins
San Francisco Giants 3-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 8-1 Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays 9-1 New York Yankees
Houston Astros 4-3 Texas Rangers
Colorado Rockies 13-8 Cincinnati Reds
Miami Marlins 5-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
Cleveland Indians 4-2 Seattle Mariners

 

Angels at Red Sox

The highly-flying Boston Red Sox (23-16) play host to Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani's under-performing Los Angeles Angels who are 16-20.

This season's MLB leading home-run scorer Ronald Acuna Jr has returned negative X-rays after injuring his left ankle in the Atlanta Braves' 8-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Acuna Jr hit a ground ball to third base and twisted his left ankle on his run-through after he crossed at the first base bag.

Braves manager Brian Snitker was one of the first on the scene to assist Acuna Jr who has hit 12 home runs this season, including another on Thursday against the Blue Jays.

The Braves later confirmed that X-rays came back negative to any damage although he would be re-evaluated again on Friday.

"He was trying like hell to beat the throw and probably hit the bag wrong," Snitker said.

"Those are scary moments for players, especially when they’ve got the torque and force he’s running with. So, I’m just glad the X-rays were negative."

Acuna Jr's 442 foot home run against Toronto was his 21st leadoff homer since 2018.

This season's MLB leading home-run scorer Ronald Acuna Jr has returned negative X-rays after injuring his left ankle in the Atlanta Braves' 8-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Acuna Jr hit a ground ball to third base and twisted his left ankle on his run-through after he crossed at the first base bag.

Braves manager Brian Snitker was one of the first on the scene to assist Acuna Jr who has hit 12 home runs this season, including another on Thursday against the Blue Jays.

The Braves later confirmed that X-rays came back negative to any damage although he would be re-evaluated again on Friday.

"He was trying like hell to beat the throw and probably hit the bag wrong," Snitker said.

"Those are scary moments for players, especially when they’ve got the torque and force he’s running with. So, I’m just glad the X-rays were negative."

Acuna Jr's 442 foot home run against Toronto was his 21st leadoff homer since 2018.

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole starred in the team's 1-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays in MLB action on Wednesday.

Cole put on a show in St Petersburg, where the Yankees pitcher struck out 12 batters over eight innings against the team's American League (AL) East rivals midweek.

The three-time All-Star surpassed 1,500 career strikeouts as a result of his performance for the streaking Yankees, who have won four successive games.

Cole (212 games) is the second fastest pitcher to reach the mark, behind Randy Johnson (206 games).

It was Cole's fifth game this season with 10-plus strikeouts and 0 walks, already the most in a single season in Yankees history, per Stats Perform. The most by any player in a season in the modern era is seven by Cole in 2019.

 

White Sox roll on, Cabrera makes history

World Series hopefuls the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 13-8 for their fifth straight victory. Jose Abreu drove in three runs as he became the sixth Cuban-born player to have 200-plus home runs and 700-plus RBI. White Sox rookie Andrew Vaughn hit the first home run of his career.

Miguel Cabrera became the Venezuelan hit king after the Detroit Tigers defeated the slumping Kansas City Royals 4-2. Cabrera drove in two runs as he surpassed Omar Vizquel for the most major league hits by a Venezuelan player.

The Los Angeles Angels were routed 9-1 by the Houston Astros but it was a memorable day for two-way star Shohei Ohtani. The Japanese sensation became the first player to start as a pitcher and then hit leadoff the following game since 1916.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers eased past the Seattle Mariners 7-1. Max Muncy homered for the second straight game, while Julio Urias retired Seattle's first 13 batters and gave up only two singles and a walk as he struck out six.

 

Kansas City's woes continue

The Royals cannot buy a win at the moment. Kansas City are in the midst of a 10-game losing streak – the franchise's longest skid since dropping 10 in succession in 2019.

 

Contreras clubs Ryu

William Contreras hit a moon shot, a 463-foot home run of Toronto Blue Jays ace Ryu Hyun-jin in the fifth inning. The Atlanta Braves still lost 4-1.

 

Wednesday's results

New York Mets 7-1 Baltimore Orioles
Cincinnati Reds 5-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians 2-1 Chicago Cubs
San Diego Padres 5-3 Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies 3-2 San Diego Padres
Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers 4-2 Kansas City Royals
New York Yankees 1-0 Tampa Bay Rays
Oakland Athletics 4-1 Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Atlanta Braves
Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 St Louis Cardinals
Houston Astros 9-1 Los Angeles Angels
Chicago White Sox 13-8 Minnesota Twins
Miami Marlins 3-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 Seattle Mariners

 

Yankees at Rays

The in-form Yankees (20-16) can claim a series sweep of the Rays (19-19) on Thursday. Jameson Taillon starts for the Yankees, while the Rays counter with Rich Hill on the mound.

Manager Bob Melvin is hopeful the Oakland Athletics can make progress on a new ballpark to ensure they do not become the latest team to move out of the city.

MLB on Tuesday instructed the A's "to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland".

The league said it was "concerned with the rate of progress on the A's new ballpark effort", with a $12billion proposal yet to be approved by the city.

A's president Dave Kaval released a statement saying the team were "committed to succeeding in Oakland" but would follow MLB's directive.

A negative outcome would represent another big blow to the sports scene in Oakland, which has already lost the NFL's Raiders to Las Vegas while the Golden State Warriors of the NBA moved to a new arena in San Francisco.

"With two other sports franchises recently leaving the community, [the team's] commitment to Oakland is now more important than ever," MLB's statement added.

Palo Alto native Melvin took the same tone as he addressed the media ahead of Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"My job is to go out and play where we are right now," said Melvin, whose A's lead the AL West. "It is unfortunate that a couple of teams have left and certainly we don't want that to happen.

"And I don't think anything that was said today would suggest it's going to. It's just giving MLB and the organisation a few more options to maybe look elsewhere."

The A's moved to Oakland from Kansas City in 1968 but have played at the multi-purpose Coliseum ever since, despite talk of a new ballpark in Oakland for the best part of 20 years.

The Houston Astros brought home four at the bottom of the eighth to claim a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels in MLB on Tuesday.

Shohei Ohtani had 10 strikeouts from seven innings but he was not on the mound, instead at right-field, as the Astros did the damage after Taylor Ward leveled the match up with a home-run at the top of the eighth.

Jose Altuve raced home for the go-ahead knock from Michael Brantley's hit and two batters later with two-on Yuli Gurriel hit his sixth home-run of the season.

Aaron Judge hit his eighth homer for the 2021 season early in the New York Yankees' 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

At 2-0 down, Mike Zunino hit the biggest Rays home run, at 472 feet, since tracking began in 2008.

Catcher Gary Sanchez spectacularly threw out Austin Meadows on second after an error, while Aroldis Chapman sent down some heat in the ninth to clinch the win. Gerrit Cole should return Wednesday.

 

Red Sox overcome Means, Bieber ripper

John Means, coming off a no-hitter with 14 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, was excellent again for the Baltimore Orioles but they lost 3-2 to the Boston Red Sox.

The Orioles took the lead and held it into the eighth when Albert Almora ran at full speed at center field face first into the wall trying to make a catch, although he got up and walked off. Baltimore plated a subsequent run to go 2-0 up from a Freddy Galvis.

But the Mets found a way back after Kevin Pillar was a foot away from a home run. Pillar eventually slid into home base from Patrick Mazeika's hit to complete a come-from-behind win. Mazeika celebrated his walk-off with his team-mates ripping his shirt off.

Chris Bassitt had 10 strikeouts across seven innings as the Oakland Athletics won 3-2 over the Boston Red Sox.

The As scored two runs in the seventh, with first baseman Matt Olson hitting the plate before he made the decisive catch with runners on two bases in the ninth to seal the win.

Cleveland Indians pitcher Shane Bieber pulled off an instinctual catch from Joc Pederson's hit which traveled with an 111 mph exit velocity in their 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Bieber made eight strikeouts but it was Jose Ramirez in the fourth who hit a crucial home-run, his 10th of the season.

In a National League Central match-up between two in-form sides, the St. Louis Cardinals got past the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 with five runs in the 11th including a Tyler O'Neill homerun.

The Detroit Tigers led 7-0 before an almighty comeback from the Kansas City Royals who eventually went down 8-7 with Niko Goodrum getting home at the bottom of the ninth.

Mitch Haniger hit two home-runs, taking his season tally to 10, as the Seattle Mariners blew a 4-1 lead to go down 6-4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

Ward and Trout clash in outfield

It was not a good night for the Angels, especially when outfielders Ward and Mike Trout had a collision where the former somehow held on to a catch and both avoided injury, walking away with bruised egos.

 

Number 11 for Acuna Jr

Ronald Acuna Jr took the outright lead for most home runs this season, his 11th of 2021 in MLB, but it was not enough for the Atlanta Braves who lost 5-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

Tuesday's results

San Francisco Giants 4-2 Texas Rangers
Cleveland Indians 3-2 Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 Cincinnati Reds
Philadelphia Phillies - Washington Nationals
New York Mets 3-2 Baltimore Orioles
Oakland Athletics 3-2 Boston Red Sox 
New York Yankees 3-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Detroit Tigers 8-7 Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Atlanta Braves 
St. Louis Cardinals 5-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago White Sox 9-3 Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros 5-1 Los Angeles Angels
San Diego Padres 8-1 Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks 11-3 Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 Seattle Mariners

 

Yankees at Rays

Last season's runners-up, the Tampa Bay Rays, continue their American League East series against the New York Yankees.

San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. has been placed on the injured list after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Padres announced the shortstop, along with Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo, were added to the IL ahead of Tuesday's game with the Colorado Rockies.

Manager Jayce Tingler confirmed Tatis had tested positive and is asymptomatic. Profar and Mateo are in contact tracing.

Tatis has hit nine home runs during the 2021 season, including a 454-foot blast in his last appearance against the San Francisco Giants.

He has a batting average of .240 and a slugging percentage of .552, while Tatis' seven stolen bases lead MLB's National League.

The Padres started Tuesday with a 19-16 record, second in the NL West behind the Giants.

The Cincinnati Reds showed no mercy in a 14-1 demolition of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, while Jared Walsh starred again in MLB.

Tyler Naquin homered and drove in four runs, while Tucker Barnhart's two-run double fuelled a six-run fourth inning against the Pirates.

Naquin celebrated a three-run homer in the seventh inning as the Reds moved 11-1 clear of the struggling Pirates.

Barnhart's double snapped a 1-1 tie in the fourth against the Pirates, who have dropped nine of 11 games, while losing eight straight to the Reds.

 

Walsh stays hot

The Los Angeles Angels edged the Houston Astros 5-4 after Walsh produced another big performance. Walsh had a home run and matched a career high with four hits as the Angels rallied past the Astros in Houston, where they had trailed by three.

Brandon Belt hit his eighth home run of the season for the San Francisco Giants, who were 3-1 winners over the Texas Rangers.

 

Keller crumbles

Mitch Keller headlined Pittsburgh's woes against Cincinnati. The Pirates pitcher gave up seven runs and seven hits in just 3.1 innings of work. Keller had two walks and two strikeouts.

 

Mancini moon shot

Trey Mancini clubbed a 440-foot home run to help the Baltimore Orioles defeat the Boston Red Sox 4-1. Mancini hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning as the Orioles avoided a four-game sweep against the team with the best record in baseball this season.

 

Monday's results

Cincinnati Reds 14-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles 4-1 Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels 5-4 Houston Astros
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 Miami Marlins
San Francisco Giants 3-1 Texas Rangers
San Diego Padres-Colorado Rockies (postponed)

 

Mariners at Dodgers

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers (18-17) will try to build some momentum when they host the Seattle Mariners (18-17) in Tuesday's series opener. Walker Buehler takes to the mound for the Dodgers as the Mariners counter with Yusei Kikuchi.

Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom will be placed on the injured list after leaving Sunday’s start with tightness in his right side.

The New York Mets announced their intention to put deGrom on the shelf on social media on Monday, but added that the results of the right-hander’s MRI were "clean of any issues."

The team will announce a corresponding move on Tuesday.

With no apparent structural damage revealed by the MRI, the Mets and their fans are hopeful the 32-year-old flamethrower will only miss one start in the rotation, returning during a weekend series against the Miami Marlins from May 21-23.

DeGrom made his sixth start of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, his first time on the mound in 11 days after skipping a turn in the rotation, also because of right side tightness.

After winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2018 and 2019, deGrom finished third in voting last year and is off to a torrid start this season.

DeGrom is 3-2 for the first-place Mets with an MLB-leading 0.68 ERA and has 65 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the real deal. The question is, can he match or even surpass the career of his Hall of Fame father?

Vladimir Guerrero is a name synonymous with baseball. Guerrero Sr. was voted one of the most feared hitters following a stellar career spanning 16 seasons that included an American League (AL) MVP, nine All-Star selections and eight Silver Slugger Awards.

Powerful just like his dad, Guerrero Jr. is now flying the family flag in living up to the hype, spearheading the Toronto Blue Jays' exciting young core in a bid to end their World Series drought, which dates back to 1993.

 

From prospect to star

Guerrero Jr.'s success is no surprise. He had long been on the radar when the Blue Jays signed the top international free agent in 2015. Before making his major league debut in 2019, he worked his way through the minor leagues – initially with the Rookie Advanced Bluefield Blue Jays before opening the 2017 season with the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts. He then joined the Advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays later that year.

John Schneider – part of Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo's coaching staff – was manager of the Dunedin Blue Jays that year, a roster which also boasted Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Danny Jansen, as Guerrero Jr. had 56 hits, 31 runs, six homers, 31 RBI and a .333 batting average.

"Everyone sees the talent and the name obviously because of his dad and all that kind of stuff. But just how intelligent he is… and him as a team-mate and person," Schneider told Stats Perform News. "His team-mates love him. He loves coming to the yard and playing every day, having fun.

"It's been cool to watch him transform himself from a young kid with a ton of talent and having fun to a really established, difference-making major league hitter right now."

Guerrero Jr. – born in Montreal – has 35 hits, 24 runs, seven homers and 23 RBI with a .310 average this season, while boasting a .447 OBP, .549 SLG and .995 OPS – all career highs through 33 games in his third season in the majors. His 456-foot moon shot against the Kansas City Royals has put him in esteemed company in terms of distance this season, while his max 116.1 exit velocity is a number not many in the sport can even dream of matching.

A popular player in the team with an infectious smile, Guerrero Jr. also celebrated an accomplishment beyond even his famous Dominican father achieved – a three-plus homer and seven-plus RBI game last month against Max Scherzer's Washington Nationals as the 22-year-old became the youngest player in MLB history to achieve that feat.

The matchup against the Nationals also featured his third career grand slam. Aged 22 years and 24 days, Guerrero Jr. became the youngest player since Alex Rodriguez (20 years and 345 days in 1996) at the time of his third slam.

"People are drawn to him – players, staff. It's fun to be around him. He comes to the field with a smile every day and he comes every day having fun. It rubs off on guys. It's cool to have him go through the minor-league system with Bo, Cavan, Gurriel and those guys," Schneider said. "They know each other very well, they're comfortable with each other and it's something they've always done. It's easier for them to be themselves now and Charlie does a good job allowing everyone to do that. He has an infectious personality."

In his first 33 games of his third MLB season in 1998, Guerrero Sr. tallied more hits (39), fewer runs (19) and the same number of homers (seven), while he was inferior to his son when it comes to batting average (.307), OBP (.350) and SLG (.535).

"You forget how young he is because of how good he is," Schneider said. "He is always working on things whether it's offensively, defensively or game-planning wise. It's an adjustment period between the minor leagues and the big leagues.

"We've always kind of seen him as a hitter, being this talented and hitting the ball hard. But being able to watch him and look at advanced reports, have a much better plan going into every game has been a big difference. Watching him evolve at first base and third base for that matter has been great. You get the exceptional offense and forget that he is 22 years old and there is always going to be continued development throughout the course of his career."

 

Hard work pays off

During the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, Guerrero Jr. finished with 58 hits, 34 runs and nine homers with a .262 batting average as the Blue Jays returned to the postseason for the first time since 2016. He had one hit as Toronto bowed out in the Wild Card Round at the hands of eventual World Series runners-up the Tampa Bay Rays.

Guerrero Jr. is now reaping the rewards after an intense offseason – shedding the pounds between the playoffs in October and Spring Training in February. He is gliding around the bases and making a mockery of major league pitching.

His walk percentage has rocketed from 8.2 in 2020 to 17.7 this season – a differential of plus 9.5, the largest increase in 2021, ahead of the Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel (+7.7), Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy (+7.5), Detroit Tigers outfielder Robbie Grossman (+7.5) and Nationals outfielder Victor Robles (+6.7).

In terms of OPS, his increase from .791 in 2020 to .995 (+.205) is the fifth-largest this season, behind only the Boston Red Sox's J.D. Martinez (+.396), Gurriel of the Astros (+.301), Chicago Cubs star Javier Baez (+.208) and Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout (+.208).

Guerrero Jr. has also reached base on 63 occasions through Toronto's first 33 games of the 2021 season. That number ranks eighth all time in franchise history – Jose Bautista (70 in 2014) is first.

"Throughout the course of his career, in the minors, he was always finding himself in good counts," Schneider said of Guerrero Jr's patience at the plate this year. "Part of it was people were very careful with him and I think it's a little bit different in the minors command wise. Now, the biggest thing is that he's doing the same thing – you look up and it's 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 and he is laying off of borderline pitches where I think in his first two years he was putting in play.

"He is laying off those pitches knowing he can put them in play but maybe can't do damage with them. He has the very rare ability to be looking for a heater and get the hanging breaking ball and hit it out. He has better command of his strike zone with the combination of understanding how a pitcher is going to attack him."

Guerrero Jr. is fast becoming one of the elite first basemen in MLB. He is also forming a formidable partnership with team-mate and shortstop Bichette in the field.

In 2021, Guerrero Jr. and Bichette rank eighth for most direct assist-putout combinations by duos with 58 – Texas Rangers pair Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Nate Low (86) top the list, which only counts direct throws from one player to the other.

Guerrero Jr. is also fifth for the most total fielding chances in the majors without committing an error (228) this year.

"He has worked tirelessly with Luis Rivera our infield coach at first base but he always been a very, very good athlete," added Schneider. "Getting himself into really good physical condition has really helped him on both sides of the ball. Last year was kind of a crash-course at first base in a shortened season with a long lay-off due to COVID but he has taken it head-on and learnt new things.

"Just little things like when to get a ball to his right and when to go to the bag. It's just coming at you in a different angle than what he was used to last year. He's been doing a ton of reps and has always had the physical ability."

With 216 career games to his name, Guerrero Jr.'s stat line reads – 219 hits, 110 runs, 31 homers, 125 RBI, a .274 batting average, .353 OBP, .457 SLG and .810 OPS. It is not far off his father at the same stage of his career – 258 hits, 129 runs, 39 homers, 125 RBI, .317 average, .361 OBP, .541 SLG and .903 OPS.

Guerrero Jr.'s numbers also stuck up well against some Hall of Fame first basemen, including Orlando Cepeda, Tony Perez, Eddie Murray, Jeff Bagwell and Jim Thome.

Cepeda: 279 hits, 136 runs, 40 homers, 153 RBI, .319 batting average, .350 OBP, .538 SLG and .888 OPS
Perez: 144 hits, 66 runs, 16 homers, 88 RBI, .254 batting average, .303 OBP, .412 SLG and .715 OPS
Murray: 232 hits, 108 runs, 36 homers, 119 RBI, .280 batting average, .332 OBP, .463 SLG and .795 OPS
Bagwell: 216 hits, 110 runs, 23 homers, 120 RBI, .277 batting average, .372 OBP, .426 SLG and .798 OPS
Thome: 180 hits, 104 runs, 30 homers, 98 RBI, .256 batting average, .346 OBP, .449 SLG and .794 OPS

In the grand scheme of things, Vladdy's career is still in its infancy and he has barely scratched the surface of his potential, but he is on track to follow in his dad's footsteps, and then some.

Fernando Tatis Jr. flexed his muscles as the San Diego Padres crushed rivals the San Francisco Giants 11-1 in MLB action on Sunday.

Tatis launched a 454-foot homer – his ninth of the season – to lead the Padres past the Giants in San Francisco, where San Diego avoided a series sweep in the battle of the National League (NL) West franchises.

Padres star Tatis went deep off Johnny Cueto in the second inning, while team-mate Jake Cronenworth also sent a 445-foot shot to right field in the same frame.

Cronenworth became the fourth Padres player to hit a home run in San Francisco, following in the footsteps of Ryan Klesko (2003), Brian Giles (2008) and Yasmani Grandal (2014).

Chris Paddack pitched three scoreless innings for the visiting Padres before leaving with a 5-0 lead, while Ryan Weather had three shut-out innings.

Elsewhere, the New York Yankees celebrated back-to-back walk-off victories following their 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

Giancarlo Stanton was the hero for the Yankees, delivering a game-ending single off Brad Hand in the ninth inning.

 

Ynoa powers Braves past Phillies

Huascar Ynoa won his fourth successive start while also having six hits and six RBI in those games as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1. Ynoa gave up one run, four hits and one walk while striking out six in six innings. According to Stats Perform, he is the first pitcher to go 4-0 with six-plus hits and six-plus RBI over a four-start span since the New York Mets' Dwight Gooden in 1985.

Jared Walsh hit a two-run double in the third inning to fuel the Los Angeles Angels' 2-1 victory against World Series champions and city rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

Pearson endures nightmare return

The Toronto Blue Jays finally got to see their top prospect back in action but the rookie pitcher struggled badly in a 7-4 loss to the Houston Astros. Pearson allowed four hits and a career-high five walks in his first start of the season and fifth of his career. He gave up three runs in 2.1 innings of work.

The Mets topped the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2, however the win was overshadowed by ace Jacob deGrom. In his return to the mound following lat inflammation, DeGrom was pulled after throwing two warm-up pitches before the sixth inning in New York, where the two-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner allowed one run while striking out six and giving up one hit over five innings prior to exiting with the trainer.

 

Tucker helps tame Jays

Kyle Tucker hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with four RBI in Houston's success against Toronto. Tucker gave the Astros a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning.

 

 

Sunday's results

Boston Red Sox 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees 3-2 Washington Nationals
New York Mets 4-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Miami Marlins
Chicago White Sox 9-3 Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros 7-4 Toronto Blue Jays
St Louis Cardinals 2-0 Colorado Rockies
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 10-2 Seattle Mariners
San Diego Padres 11-1 San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Oakland Athletics
Atlanta Braves 6-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Cincinnati Reds-Cleveland Indians (postponed)
Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers (postponed)

 

Red Sox at Orioles

The high-flying Red Sox (22-13), who top the American League (AL) East, will put their four-game winning streak on the line against the lowly Orioles (15-19) on Monday. Boston can seal a four-game sweep as they start with Martin Perez, while Baltimore send Jorge Lopez to the mound.

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom will undergo an MRI after his comeback from lat inflammation was cut short due to a "different injury" on Sunday.

Having been scratched from Tuesday's scheduled start against the St Louis Cardinals because of inflammation in his right lat, star Mets pitcher DeGrom made his return to the mound in the team's 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

DeGrom, however, was pulled after throwing two warm-up pitches before the sixth inning in New York, where the two-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner allowed one run while striking out six and giving up one hit over five innings prior to exiting with the trainer.

"He's going for an MRI, just to see what's going on there, to see how he is, have a clear view," said Mets manager Luis Rojas.

"Right-side tightness is what we have from our medical staff here, more so in his lower back area, on the right side. They're taking a look, so once we get the results back, we'll know how he is."

Rojas added: "It's different. It's the right side, but now it's more in the lower back area rather than a little higher than he was with the tightness.

"No pain, just the tightness. That's what he told our trainer. We'll see."

DeGrom improved his record to 3-2 for the season as his ERA rose from an MLB-best 0.51 to 0.68.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.