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Bryce Harper jogged out another ground ball (GIF)

Bryce Harper NationalsJust three days after he was benched for not hustling down the line on a weak ground ball, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper chose to dog it down the line once again on Tuesday night. Unlike the first time, Harper actually proceeded through the first base bag instead of peeling off toward the dugout. He still gave far less than 100% effort.

Harper, who was dropped to sixth in the lineup by Nationals manager Matt Williams, hit a ground ball to second base and nonchalantly made his way to first. The way he ran out the grounder was hardly uncommon, but you would think he’d make it a point to hustle now that he has been so heavily scrutinized.

Suddenly, the 21-year-old Harper has gone from a player who plays so hard in the outfield he is described as reckless to somebody who doesn’t hustle down the line. Is the quad injury he has been nursing still bothering him? If you read the accusations a Washington Post writer threw around earlier this week, it will certainly make you scratch your head.

GIF via DC Sports Nexus
H/T For the Win

Umpires use replay and still botch Yunel Escobar count (Video)

Yunel-Escobar-at-batThe umpiring crew that was working the Minnesota Twins-Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night completely botched one of Yunel Escobar’s at-bats, and instant replay somehow didn’t help. Escobar struck out in the bottom of the fifth, but the question of whether he fouled off a pitch appeared to mess everything up.

Why didn’t reviewing the sequence of pitches help? We have no idea. If you skip ahead to the 1:22 mark of the video above, you’ll see the pitch sequence to Escobar. The count was clearly 2-1 when he started to swing at a pitch that was up in the zone but stopped. It was unclear if he fouled it off or if it simply deflected off the catcher’s glove, but home plate umpire Paul Schreiber appeared to rule it a ball. That would have made the count 3-1.

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David Price took a line drive to the nuts (GIF)

Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price taught all of the young ballplayers in the world a valuable lesson on Tuesday night — always wear a cup. Had the lefthander not been wearing one, his night would have been much, much worse.

Price was pitching to Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer in the top of the fourth inning when Mauer ripped a line drive right back at him. It hit Price directly in the groin area and ricocheted toward third base, allowing Mauer to reach on an infield single. Trainers came out to examine Price, at which point he proudly showed them that his cup had done it’s job.

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That’s what I call saving the children.

H/T The Big Lead

Fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th homer gives it back for free

Tom-Sherill-Albert-Pujols-home-run

Albert Pujols reached a major milestone during the Los Angeles Angels’ win over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night when he blasted the 499th and 500th home runs of his career. Catching a 500th home run ball can be like hitting the lottery, but that’s only if you feel like negotiating. Tom Sherill, the 29-year-old Angels fan who caught Pujols’ 500th homer, asked for nothing.

“I’ll take whatever they want to give me, but I’m not going to be picky,”Sherrill told Angels broadcasters Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza on Fox Sports West, according to Big League Stew. “I just want to make sure that Albert gets the ball. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

Sherill only ended up asking for one thing, and it wasn’t for himself. The ball he caught had deflected off the stomach of another fan. He wanted that fan and his children to have a chance to meet Pujols as well.

Big League Stew’s David Brown pointed out that the Angels gave Sherill a hat and four free tickets to the game of his choice. Considering what he could have gotten for the ball on eBay, Sherill hooked the team up big time. I’d have to imagine Pujols will have some more goodies for him.

Photo: Twitter/Tim Mead

Albert Pujols becomes first ever to homer twice to get to 500 (Video)

Albert Pujols home runAlbert Pujols became the 26th player in baseball history to hit 500 career home runs, and he was the first to ever do so by homering twice in the same game.

Pujols went deep off Washington Nationals starter Taylor Jordan twice Tuesday, once in the first for a 3-run shot and then a 2-run blast in the sixth to give him number 500. The second home run was a massive shot measured at 430 feet.

Pujols is off to a torrid start for the Angels and tied for the league lead with seven home runs.

Pujols also hit his 400th career home run at Nationals Park. According to MLB, he has now homered off 316 pitchers in 36 different ballparks and against 29 of the 30 teams (he hasn’t homered against the Cardinals).

Albert is the third-youngest player to reach 500 home runs behind A-Rod and Jimmie Foxx, though many have questions about Pujols’ age (he’s 34 years and 96 days old). He’s the second player to hit his 500th home run as a member of the Angels, joining Reggie Jackson.

Albert Pujols becomes 26th player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs (Video)

albert-pujols-500-swingA solo home run on Saturday left Albert Pujols just two shy of joining one of Major League Baseball’s exclusive clubs. It was only a matter of when, not if, the three-time National League MVP would become the 26th player to reach the 500 home run plateau.

Tuesday was that day.

In the first inning, Pujols hit No. 499, a three-run shot, to left field off of Washington Nationals starter Taylor Jordan. In the fifth, Pujols hit one of the two-run variety and Jordan became the answer to the trivia question “Who was on the mound for Albert Pujols’ 500th home run?”

At 34-years-old, Pujols is the third youngest to reach the feat behind Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx, who were both 32.

The two home runs give Pujols eight for the season, most in the majors. Within his sights on the all-time list are Eddie Murray (504), Gary Sheffield (509), Mel Ott (511), Eddie Matthews (512), and Ernie Banks (512).

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Billy Hamilton goes first to third on tapper back to pitcher (Video)

Billy Hamilton RedsBilly Hamilton created yet another run with his incredible speed and aggressive baserunning.

During Monday’s Cincinnati Reds-Pittsburgh Pirates game, Hamilton was hit by a pitch to lead off the game, then went from first to third on a tapper back to the mound by Joey Votto, and he scored on a fielder’s choice by Brandon Phillips.

Think about how crazy that is. He was stealing second on the Votto play, so he already had a jump, but he still impressively managed to get to third. A lot of guys can’t even go first to third on a base hit to the outfield! And if that wasn’t enough, he scored on a hard grounder to third. The kind that most people freeze on and stay at third, or get thrown out at home on. The throw beat him home, but Pedro Alvarez had to rush so much that he made a bad throw home, allowing Hamilton to score.

This guy is on another planet with his baserunning.