Tag: Ivan Rodriguez

“Hip, Hip, Jorge!” Congrats To Jorge Posada On His 1,000th Career RBI

On a night when it rained on Alex Rodriuez’s 600th home run quest, Jorge Posada’s milestone RBI stole the spotlight.

After a base clearing three run double by Robinson Cano in the top of the first inning,  Posada followed with an RBI double of his own, and thus reached 1,000 RBI’s in his career.

With his milestone RBI tonight, Posada is now the 12th Yankee to do so, joining fellow catchers Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey, as well as long time teammate Derek Jeter.

But it’s not just Yankee legends that he’s joining.

Posada’s name can now be mentioned as one of only five catchers in the history of Major League Baseball to have 1,000+ RBI, 350+ Doubles, and 250+ Home Runs. The other four back stops in that group are Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, and Ivan Rodriguez (three Hall of Farmer’s and a future one).

Jorge is also now one of 24 active players with 1,000 RBI and one of two active catchers, the other one obviously being Ivan Rodriguez.

Hall of Fame for Jorge? A case can be made, but that is an entirely different discussion.

So congratulations to Jorge Posada on an amazing career, that has spanned 1,660 games, 16 seasons, a decade and a half of baseball, and now has 1,000 RBI.

Indeed deserving of a “hip hip, Jorge!”


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2010 MLB All-Star Game: The All-Time AL All-Star Starting Lineup

Yesterday we did the All-Time National League All-Star Game Starting Lineup, based on which players had the most All-Star Game starts, by position.

Today, we look at the American League team.

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Ivan Rodriguez: Another Record In MLB

Ivan Rodriguez is once again looking to make history in Major League Baseball.

If he is given the opportunity by Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman, the man best known as “Pudge” will be setting another mark in his great career tonight.

Tonight, at Nationals Park in the interleague game against the Kansas City Royals, the 38-year-old catcher will set the record for most games ever played by a Puerto Rican player in the majors.

Yesterday, the 13-time Gold Glover equaled Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente’s record of games played by a native Puerto Rican at 2,433.

For Rodriguez, it is another mark on his way to overcoming those established by the legendary Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Pirate.

These days, Rodriguez is well known to be in pursuit of a major milestone that “The Great One” set many years ago: Clemente’s record of 3,000 hits.

At present, Rodriguez is the second-best Puerto Rican ever with 2,761 hits.

Nobody should forget that last year Rodriguez broke the major league record for games caught by a catcher, surpassing Carlton Fisk’s 2,226 games behind the plate.

For the curious, here is the list of the 10 Latin American players with most games played in the history of Major League Baseball:

  • Rafael Palmeiro: 2,831
  • Tony Perez: 2,777
  • Omar Vizquel: 2,772
  • Luis Aparicio: 2,599
  • Julio Franco: 2,527
  • David Concepcion: 2,488
  • Rod Carew: 2,469
  • Iván Rodríguez: 2,433
  • Roberto Clemente: 2,433
  • Roberto Alomar: 2,379








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Pudge Rodriguez Deserves Credit for Stephen Strasburg’s Debut

Counting his five Arizona Fall League starts, Stephen Strasburg had made sixteen starts as a professional before making his major league debut on June 8th. During these appearances, Strasburg pitched a total of 74.1 innings, walking 20, striking out 88, posted an ERA of 2.18, and racked up an 11-3 record.

Despite some early struggles in Arizona, including a start in which he allowed three homers and six earned runs, the numbers Strasburg has posted have steadily improved, likely as a result of his own improvement as it relates to being a professional pitcher. He has access to a number of people who can help him with all aspects of his new life, both on and off the field.

And yet, with all the hype, with all the pomp and circumstance heading into his first start, Strasburg managed to somehow, someway, not only meet, but obliterate any singular or cumulative expectations.

While there’s not much debate in the fact the Pittsburgh Pirates offense is inept, it is only so as it compares to major league offenses. What is not in debate is the Pirates offense is, by far, the best lineup Strasburg has ever faced in his young career.

And yet he went through them like Sherman through Atlanta, like a hot knife through butter, like Wayne Gretzky through the New Jersey Devils defense.

But why? There’s no question on his stuff, but he was throwing the same stuff last week in Triple-A, and a month ago against Double-A hitters.

He wasn’t officially called up until the morning of the game, so it’s not like he was hanging around reading scouting reports on the Pirates’ hitters.

So what was it, or who, that had Strasburg painting the corners, not throwing a four seamer from the second inning to the fifth, and throwing changeups in fastball counts?

The who was Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

It’s no coincidence the Nationals chose June 8th for Strasburg’s debut, just like it was no coincidence Rodriguez was eligible to be activated from the disabled list on the same day.

Turn back the clock to December, 2009.

Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden, in his new career as a Colin Cowherd wannabe, ridiculed the Nationals for signing Rodriguez on his XM Radio Show, “Baseball this Morning” during the Winter Meetings. 

Bowden, proving once again the best whine is made from sour grapes, said, “Following in the foot-steps of Paul LoDuca and Dmitri Young, another bad signing by the Nationals,” to which Bowden’s on-air partner, Steve Davis, replied, “This time by a new GM, at least.”

Here’s a news flash for you, Jimbo, and this points to another reason why you’re doing drive time radio, last night was the reason Mike Rizzo signed Pudge Rodriguez.

Rizzo didn’t look at Rodriguez’s .280 OBP, as a reason not to sign him, he didn’t look at his age or the number of game he’s caught, all Rizzo cared about was one thing—leadership. The experience he’s gained during his career, and the ability to guide young pitchers, as he demonstrated with Josh Beckett with the 2003 Florida Marlins and Justin Verlander with the 2006 Tigers.

People who believe in statistical analysis will look at numbers and say a guy is worth it or not, without realizing the unmeasurable intangibles that a player can bring. Rodriguez is long past his prime, yet had no trouble getting a two-year deal from Washington.

The reason is because of Stephen Strasburg, and Jordan Zimmermann, and Colin Ballester and the other young pitchers (and catchers) in the organization.

Strasburg, in his post-game presser, stated he had not seen any scouting reports on the Pirates’ hitters, nor did he have time before the game to sit down with his teammates.

When asked how he approached the hitters, Strasburg said, “I was throwing to a future Hall of Famer, I trusted him, I just threw what he wanted where he wanted.”

Strasburg’s been called a once in a lifetime talent. It’s one thing for a twenty-one year old to have three quality major league pitches, it’s something else entirely for him to have the command of a veteran and the confidence to throw them anytime.

Today the internet was full of blog articles praising the performance of Strasburg, and rightfully so. It doesn’t matter to them that last night was the first time they had ever seen Strasburg throw a ball, some of them probably still haven’t. Some of the articles were well written, others were downright embarrassing.

Today the internet didn’t have one article praising the performance of Ivan Rodriguez, which is a shame.

Because he is more responsible for Strasburg’s performance than Strasburg himself.

If you didn’t see that, then we weren’t watching the same game.

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Stephen Strasburg Worth the Hype, Wows Fans in His Big League Debut

With all the hype surrounding 21-year-old rookie Stephen Strasburg, it’s no wonder his adrenaline began pumping early Tuesday afternoon.

But, after taking the mound on Tuesday night, the fireballer got down to business and had one of the most successful debuts in major league history.

He would throw 96 pitches over seven innings of work and did not walk a single batter. Even more impressive than that however, was his 14 strikeouts that looked almost too easy.

His fastballs ranged anywhere from 95 to 101 MPH and he used it to his advantage. When hitters began to look for it and prepare for it, Strasburg would throw one of the nastiest hooks at 81 MPH, which was about as unhittable as his fastball.

Fans were on their feet for most of the night and for good reason. This young pitcher has brought excitement back to Nationals Park. A park that was averaging just over 14k fans per game was sold out on Tuesday at 45k strong. Even his former college coach, a hall of famer in his own right, Tony Gwynn was on hand to witness the San Diego State standout in his major league debut.

After his final strikeout of the night, he took a curtain call from the Nationals’ fans, something almost unheard of from a rookie. But when you’re Stephen Strasburg and you just had one of the most successful rookie debuts in baseball history, a curtain call seems necessary.

When the game came to a close, a 5-2 win for the Nationals, Strasburg was on the top step of the dugout doing an interview with one of the local stations in the nation’s capital when it was interrupted by teammates giving him a shaving cream pie.

When he wiped the first two off, he was handed a towel by teammate Scott Olson who promptly gave him his third shaving cream pie to the delight of onlooking fans. Not to mention he got to wear the silver wig, an honor not easily given to a rookie.

But my impression of Strasburg got even better watching his post game press conference. There was no arrogance, no cocky attitude that said “I know I’m good.” He answered the question like a seasoned veteran and even made mention of the future Hall of Famer, Pudge Rodriguez, and what it was like having a guy like that behind the plate.

Stephen Strasburg has a bright future ahead of him but the Nationals need to be careful just how long they let him go. He’s going to be a huge ticket draw even in visiting cities, just like he was during his days at San Diego State as well as in the minor leagues.

While he shouldn’t be looked at as the “savior” of the Nationals’ franchise, it certainly is something they can be proud of and a player that might just start their road to becoming a team to be reckoned with.

Seven innings pitched, two earned runs, no walks and 14 strikeouts. That’ll do kid, that’ll do.

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MLB: Top 20 Players Who Look Odd in Their Current Jerseys

Most of the greatest players of all time spent the final year or few years on teams for whom they did not spend their entire careers, and it just didn’t seem right.

Whether it was Willie Mays with the Mets, Hank Aaron with the Brewers, Babe Ruth with the Braves, or Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins with the Athletics, seeing iconic players in some strange team’s uniform is always unsettling, like when your grandfather needs help going to the bathroom.

Guess what? Major League Baseball currently sports a gaggle of such players. Let’s have a look.

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Why Ivan Rodriguez’s Double Plays Grounded Into Don’t Matter

Ivan Rodriguez, in what can only be described as a renaissance season, currently leads the National League in Double Plays Grounded Into.

But does that really matter?

The Double Plays Grounded Into statistic has been kept in the National League since 1933, and in the American League since 1939.

Obviously, double plays can hurt a team, because it involves going from at least one runner on base, with less than two outs to eliminating, the runner. They often end the inning. Double Plays are almost always rally killers.

While a double play is always bad, and any player who hits into one should hang his head on the way back to the dugout, I am still skeptical.

Does tallying the number of double plays a player hits into necessarily tells us something about that player?

Or, does it tell us something about his team?

It seems easier for teams to avoid hitting into double plays by stealing bases. Starting the runners with a hitter’s count, executing hit-and-runs, bunting guys over, or even balancing the lineup so that a lefty comes up behind a guy who gets on base frequently could impact the statistics.

The 1983 Red Sox provided the best example of double plays being attributed to a team, not a player.

On Sept. 28 of that year, Tony Armas grounded into his 31st double play of the season, which at the time was tied with Bobby Doerr for the second worst total ever. Jackie Jenson hit into 32 in 1954.

Four days later, on Oct. 2, Jim Rice matched Armas’ feat by grounding into his 31st double play.

So, who should be blamed for Armas and Rice’s astronomical double play numbers, in the same season no less. The players, or the team?

After all, double plays are a team effort, right?

A little investigation sheds more light on the issue. The ’83 Red Sox featured a 43-year-old Carl Yastrzemski, who could barely run, a 31-year-old Dwight Evans, who was hardly fleet-footed, Rice, never accused of being fast, and a 25-year-old Wade Boggs, who posted a .444 on-base percentage, comprised largely of walks and singles.

This Red Sox team was probably one of the most double-play-prone teams of all time. Of course, Armas and Rice hit into tons of them.

To be sure, let’s not give too much credit to either player—particularly Armas, who hit 36 home runs, but had a .707 OPS and a .254 on-base percentage.

At the same time, doesn’t this lineup explain more about why Rice and Armas were two of the worst double play batters of all time?

 Jim Rice’s career provides further information.

Prior to Boggs’s arrival in 1982, Rice’s career high for double plays was 21. He hit into 20 or more only once.

But, Boggs’ combination of high on-base percentage and no power made him the perfect lead-off guy in Boston, despite his lack of speed.

Suddenly, Rice had four of the worst double play seasons of all time, hitting into 29 in 1982, 31 in 1983, breaking the record with 36 in 1984, and narrowly missing the record again with 35 in 1985, despite missing 22 games.

The Red Sox were penciling a slow singles hitter in the lead-off position in the 1980s. That move was reflected in Jim Rice’s double play totals.

It is not like Jim Rice and Wade Boggs are the only example of a guy suffering a high double play number because of the player hitting in front of him.

We noted above that, after 1983, Armas and Rice were two of the four worst double play batters of all time, along with Bobby Doerr and Jackie Jenson.

Guess what those two guys had in common?

In 1949, Bobby Doerr set the then-major league record by grounding into 31 double plays while playing for the Boston Red Sox. In 1954, Jackie Jensen broke Doerr’s record by grounding into 32 double plays, also while playing for the Boston Red Sox.

Each of those players set the record for double plays grounded into while hitting behind Ted Williams, perhaps the best combination of on-base percentage and slow base-running.

Should Doerr’s and Jensen performances be considered a reflection upon them, or a reflection upon Ted Williams?

Williams and Boggs aren’t the only guys who indirectly created high double play totals for their teammates.

In fact, of the 59 different seasons in which a player has hit into 27 or more doubles, the vast majority of them came on teams that featured players with tremendously high on-base percentages.

Just take a look at the names of the guys who were teammates of the “27 or more double plays club.” Most of these guys are on the Who’s Who of great on-base machines:


Player GIDP Year Team Teammate High OBP
Jim Rice 36 1984 Boston Red Sox Wade Boggs .407
Jim Rice 35 1985 Boston Red Sox Wade Boggs .450
Ben Grieve 32 2000 Oakland Athletics Jason Giambi .476
Jackie Jensen 32 1954 Boston Red Sox Ted Williams .513
Cal Ripken 32 1985 Baltimore Orioles Eddie Murray .383
Miguel Tejada 32 2008 Houston Astros Lance Berkman .420
Tony Armas 31 1983 Boston Red Sox Wade Boggs .444
Bobby Doerr 31 1949 Boston Red Sox Ted Williams .490
    Johnny Pesky .408
    Dom DiMaggio .404
    Vern Stephens .391
Jim Rice 31 1983 Boston Red Sox Wade Boggs .444
Ivan Rodriguez 31 1999 Texas Rangers Rafael Palmeiro .420
    Rusty Greer .405
Brad Ausmus 30 2002 Houston Astros Lance Berkman .405
    Jeff Bagwell .401
Billy Hitchcock 30 1950 Philadelphia Athletics Ferris Fain .430
    Elmer Valo .400
Ernie Lombardi 30 1938 Cincinnati Reds Ival Goodman .368
Dave Winfield 30 1983 New York Yankees Butch Wynegar .399
Carl Yastrzemski 30 1964 Boston Red Sox Eddie Broussard .372
George Bell 29 1992 Chicago White Sox Frank Thomas .439
Jimmy Bloodworth 29 1943 Detroit Tigers Dick Wakefield .377
Frank Howard 29 1969 Washington Senators Mike Epstein .414
Frank Howard 29 1971 Washington Senators Don Mincher .389
Dave Philley 29 1952 Philadelphia Athletics Elmer Valo .432
    Ferris Fain .438
Jim Presley 29 1985 Seattle Mariners Alvin Davis .381
Jim Rice 29 1982 Boston Red Sox Wade Boggs .406
    Dwight Evans .402
Brooks Robinson 29 1960 Baltimore Orioles Jim Gentile .403
    Gene Woodling .401
Ted Simmons 29 1973 St. Louis Cardinals Bernie Carbo .397
    Joe Torre .377
Julio Franco 28 1986 Cleveland Indians Pat Tabler .368
Sid Gordon 28 1951 Boston Braves Earl Torgeson .375
George Kell 28 1944 Philadelphia Athletics Dick Siebert .387
Harmon Killebrew 28 1970 Minnesota Twins Tony Oliva .364
Paul Konerko 28 2003 Chicago White Sox Frank Thomas .390
    Magglio Ordonez .380
    Carl Everett .377
Magglio Ordonez 28 2000 Chicago White Sox Frank Thomas .436
Cal Ripken 28 1996 Baltimore Orioles Roberto Alomar .411
    Rafael Palmeiro .381
    Brady Anderson .396
Miguel Tejada 28 2006 Baltimore Orioles Kevin Millar .374
John Bateman 27 1971 Montreal Expos Ron Hunt .402
    Rusty Staub .392
Bruce Bochte 27 1979 Seattle Mariners Julio Cruz .363
Sean Casey 27 2005 Cincinnati Reds Adam Dunn .387
Julio Franco 27 1989 Texas Rangers Rafael Palmeiro .354
Carl Furillo 27 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers Jim Gilliam .399
    Duke Snider .399
Vladimir Guerrero 27 2008 Los Angeles Angels Chone Figgins .367
Billy Johnson 27 1943 New York Yankees Charlie Keller .396
    Bill Dickey .445
Eric Karros 27 1996 Los Angeles Dodgers Mike Piazza .422
Jason Kendall 27 2005 Oakland Athletics Mark Ellis .384
Carlos Lee 27 2007 Houston Astros Lance Berkman .386
Derrek Lee 27 2008 Chicago Cubs Mike Fontenot .395
    Ryan Theriot .387
    Aramis Ramirez .380
Sherm Lollar 27 1959 Chicago White Sox Nellie Fox .380
Victor Martinez 27 2006 Cleveland Indians Travis Hafner .439
Magglio Ordonez 27 2008 Detroit Tigers Carlos Guillen .376
Jay Payton 27 2003 Colorado Rockies Todd Helton .458
    Larry Walker .422
Mike Piazza 27 1999 New York Mets John Olerud .427
    Rickey Henderson .423
    Roger Cedeno .396
A.J. Pierzynski 27 2004 San Francisco Giants A.J. Pierzynski .609
    J.T. Snow .429
    Dustan Mohr .394
Kirby Puckett 27 1991 Minnesota Twins Chili Davis .385
    Kent Hrbek .373
Albert Pujols 27 2007 St. Louis Cardinals David Eckstein .356
Al Rosen 27 1950 Cleveland Indians Larry Doby .442
    Ray Boone .397
    Dale Mitchell .390
    Bobby Avila .390
Ron Santo 27 1973 Chicago Cubs Jose Cardenal .375
Ken Singleton 27 1973 Montreal Expos Ron Fairly .422
    Ron Hunt .418
Rusty Staub 27 1977 Detroit Tigers Ron LeFlore .363
Joe Vosmik 27 1939 Boston Red Sox Jimmie Foxx .464
    Ted Williams .436
    Joe Cronin .407
Carl Yastrzemski 27 1962 Boston Red Sox Pete Runnels .408
Michael Young 27 2006 Texas Rangers Mark Teixeira .371
    Gary Matthews .371
Todd Zeile 27 2002 Colorado Rockies Todd Helton .429
    Larry Walker .421


There is some really fun stuff here. For example:

– Elmer Valo and Ferris Fain of the Philadelphia Athletics combined to put two different guys on the list, Billy Hitchcock with 30 in 1950 and Dave Philley with 29 in 1952.

– Larry Walker and Todd Helton also combined to put two different guys on here, Todd Zeile with 27 in 2002 and Jay Payton with 27 in 2003.

– Rafael Palmeiro was a teammate to three of these guys: Ivan Rodriguez (31) in 1999, Cal Ripken, Jr. (28) in 1996, and Julio Franco (27) in 1989.

– Frank Thomas also appears to have put three players on the list: George Bell in 1992, Magglio Ordonez in 2000, and Paul Konerko in 2002.

– Lance Berkman put Brad Ausmus (2002), Carlos Lee (2007), and Miguel Tejada (2008) on the list.

– Keep in mind, my point is that a high-OBP teammate is often to blame; sometimes, like when Vlad Guerrero played on a team whose OBP leader was Chone Figgins with a .367, the batter has only himself to blame.

– Yaz hit into 30 double plays when the team-leading OBP was Eddie Broussard with .372.

– Ernie Lombardi’s 30 double plays in 1938 seem solely attributable to himself, as the team leader in OBP that year was Ival Goodman at .368.

There is, of course, a reason this is all important.

The value, or should we say damage, caused by a double play can be hugely different, depending on how we look at the double play.

If I tell you that Player A hit into 30 double plays, you might be inclined to think Player A isn’t a good player. You might be right, but you might be wrong.

If I then tell you that Player B has a .400 on-base percentage, but doesn’t run very fast, and hit ahead of Player A, and as a result Player A also had 130 RBI, you might say that the difference between the average number of double plays hit into and the number Player A hit into is the cost of doing business with a guy who gets on base 40 percent of the time—and I think you’d be right.

I think it might be a more telling statistic if we counted the number of times a player hit into a double play, but also the number of time a guy was the other out for another player’s double play. That way, we’d know whether a high number of double plays reflects the player or reflects the team.

Or perhaps there is a simpler explanation—the total number of double plays doesn’t tell us nearly as much as the number of double plays divided by the number of double play opportunities would. If Jim Rice hit into 31 double plays but came to bat with a runner on first base 300 times in a season, I think we wouldn’t condemn him as much as a guy who hit into 25 double plays while batting third behind Juan Pierre and Neifi Perez.

Perhaps we’re looking at double plays as a counting stat when we should be converting it into a rate stat. That might be a bit more illuminating.


Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA and is the co-founder of BaseballEvolution.com .

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Pudge Rodriguez Leads a Trio of Hot-Hitting Puerto Rican Catchers in the MLB

No more cliches like in spring training. No more “how the grass smells,” “how the sun shines brightly over the diamond.” No more now that every team has an equal share of first place.


One month into the season there are teams living up to their preseason expectations. The Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees they truly appear as the teams we knew from last year and are each looking to repeat their way into the Fall Classic.


There are others that are good, surprising teams—such as the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and the Washington Nationals—as in every season there is a Cinderella team that’s not easy to beat.


Through the first month of the season, though, it was not the best time to write about our Puerto Rican players.


Keeping this column positive, the Puerto Rican beat was to be found in the senior circuit.


Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez looks so far like the leading candidate for National League Comeback Player of the Year.


The seven-time Silver Slugger, nowadays fueled to reach the legendary 3,000-hit club, is batting .400 with seven doubles and 10 RBI in 19 games. By last Tuesday, he had hit safely in 11 of 14 starts dating to April 12.


The 14-time All-Star last month surpassed Roberto Alomar into second place among Puerto Ricans in career hits in the majors, and only Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente lies ahead.


With 2,737 hits heading into Tuesday’s action, Rodriguez is only 263 hits away from both marks, as Clemente retired with 3,000 hits on the nose. At the pace he’s currently going, though, Pudge might have to start and play regularly for three more years to reach his goal.


From the defensive side, Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman has been on the record praising Rodriguez as the architect behind the plate of his team’s starting pitching success so far into the young season.


Riggleman, in a visit to South Florida, also commend on good start of rookie right-hander Luis Atilano, who is a native of Santurce, Puerto Rico.


Heading into Tuesday’s action, the 25-year-old hurler is 2-0 with only three runs and 11 hits allowed in 12 innings pitched over two games started.


Right behind Rodriguez, the second best batting as a catcher in the National League is Bengie Molina.


Before arriving into Miami against the Marlins, Molina is red-hot with a batting average over .380 through the last week, and at present he is among the top five best hitters in the National League.


Giants skipper Bruce Bochy is such a believer in the 35-year-old veteran that he has returned him as his cleanup batter behind National League hitting leader Pablo Sandoval.


Bochy most recently also acclaimed fellow Puerto Rican left-handed Jonathan Sanchez.


Before his Tuesday start against the Marlins, Sanchez has gone 2-1 with 1.85 ERA, and opposing batters are only hitting against him for a National League-leading .167 average.


The 27-year-old is also ranked among the top of several categories among National League pitchers in strikeouts, ERA, and baserunners allowed.


The American League’s best offensive Puerto Rican has been Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.


Through most of April he was getting hot with his bat before succumbing to some bad luck. On Monday he suffered a mild calf strain, and last week he missed two starts due to a right knee contusion after being hit by a pitch in a game against the Orioles.


The 38-year-old veteran at the moment is considered day-to-day.


Manager Joe Girardi has said Posada may be available to catch again by this Friday against the Boston Red Sox.


Let’s hope the month of May gets better for the Puerto Rican brass in the Major Leagues.

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