MLB Weekly Report: Albert Pujols Breaks Home Run Drought [VIDEO]
Incredible individual performances marked the past week of play in Major League Baseball, with Albert Pujols finally going deep for the Los Angeles Angels and Bryce Harper continuing to make a name for himself in Washington. Here’s what’s happening this week in MLB.
Albert Pujols Breaks Homer-less Streak
After 28 regular season games and 110 at-bats, Angels’ slugger Albert Pujols finally hit his first home run of the season on Sunday, a two-run bomb against the Blue Jays in his team’s 4-3 win. The big fly was Pujols’ first since signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with Los Angeles in the off-season. With 446 lifetime home runs, Pujols probably won’t go so many at-bats before connecting again. Watch his power stroke below:
Miami Marlins Win Sixth in a Row
With a 6-3 victory over San Diego on Sunday, the Miami Marlins have won six games in a row to overcome early season stumbles and even their record at 14-14. Just four games behind first-place Washington in the National League East, manager Ozzie Guillen’s team has rallied with solid starts from pitcher Ricky Nolasco (4-0) and plenty of comeback victories.
Mariano Rivera Tears Knee Ligament, Could Miss Remainder of 2012
All-time MLB saves leader Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees tore knee ligaments while shagging fly balls during batting practice prior to his team’s game in Kansas City on Thursday night. Rivera, 42, said Friday that he desires to return to the mound in 2012. Given his advanced age, it will be a challenge for the best relief pitcher in baseball history to recover so quickly. Meanwhile, the Yankees will use Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano in the closer’s role for now.
Play of the Week: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
Rookie outfielder Bryce Harper showed the hustle he brings to the Nationals by pulling this scintillating steal of home on Sunday night against the Phillies when Cole Hamels threw to first.
Upcoming Series To Watch: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Scheduled to start Friday at Camden Yards in Baltimore, this three-game series pits the owners of baseball’s two best records against each other in a potential battle for first place in the American League East. With starters David Price and James Shields each recoding five wins already, Tampa (19-10) has proven that it can duel with any MLB staff. The Orioles (19-9) have the AL’s best team ERA (2.76), but it was first baseman Chris Davis who got the win during Baltimore’s wacky 9-6 victory over the Red Sox in 17 innings on Sunday. Davis became the first American League position player since 1968 to earn a victory.
Hitting Performance of the Week: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
With his three-homer game last Monday in cavernous Petco Park in San Diego, Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun showed that power is still very much a part of his game. After an off-season marred by performance-enhancing drug use accusations, Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, has been counted on more than ever with Prince Fielder leaving Milwaukee for Detroit in the off-season. Braun has responded with 8 homers and 18 runs batted in thus far.
Pitching Performance of the Week: Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
With the time difference preventing most of the U.S. from seeing the game, pitcher Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels tossed a no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. Showcasing nasty stuff against an over matched Twins’ lineup, Weaver ran his 2012 record to 4-0 with an American League-leading 1.61 ERA.
Fantasy Player to Add: Tony Campana, Chicago Cubs
A speedy outfielder, Tony Campana is hitting .325 with seven stolen bases and seven runs scored through 14 games for the Cubs. After doubling home the tying run against the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth at Wrigley on Sunday, Campana is slowly growing into a North Side folk hero. Take advantage of his steals and batting average.
Fantasy Player to Drop: Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants
After fracturing the hamate bone in his left hand, San Francisco Giants’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval is expected to miss between 4-6 weeks. Prior to the injury, Sandoval had hit .316 in 2012, with 5 homers and 15 runs batted in. Even when he comes off the disabled list, Sandoval may not have the pop you’re looking for from a third baseman until he’s able to build strength in his hand.
Other News From Around MLB
Detroit Tigers’ designated hitter Delmon Young was suspended from the team for seven days after an April 27 incident in New York, during which he got into a confrontation in a bar and allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks. Young started at DH on Saturday and Sunday against the White Sox. … New York Yankees’ pitcher Andy Pettitte was back in court under cross-examination in the Roger Clemens’ perjury trial last week. During questioning, Pettitte said that Roger Clemens told him he had used Human Growth Hormone, then Pettitte said he may have misunderstood when Clemens made the admission in 1999. Meanwhile, Pettitte was rocked in his latest minor league start at Triple-A on Sunday. He allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings. Pettite still does not have a schedule timetable to rejoin the Yankees’ major league roster.