With 23 extra-base hits, including nine home runs, 5-foot-9, 180-pound Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts is showing rare power for such a diminutive player, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe details. Even scout Danny Watkins, who was instrumental in Boston’s fifth-round selection of Betts in the 2011 draft, is surprised. “I did not see home runs like this,” Watkins told Speier. “Honestly, I thought he could have some impact with power, but I really thought it would come in the form of doubles more than home runs. Knowing what I saw, it would still be very difficult for me to go back and project this type of performance by this age.” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is also taken aback by the 23-year-old’s power-hitting ways. “I don’t remember a thinner, smaller guy in that regard who generates the type of power he does. He’s just got exceptional talent.” Betts is currently on pace to reach the 30-homer plateau; if he does, he’ll join exclusive company – Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Mel Ott – as the only players 5-10 or under to accomplish the feat by the age of 23, notes Speier.
More from Boston and two other American League cities:
- Catcher Matt Wieters’ offseason decision to accept the Orioles’ $15.8MM qualifying offer is paying dividends for the team, writes Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com. In addition to hitting .291/.331/.453 with four homers in 124 plate appearances, Wieters has thrown out 4 of 8 attempted base stealers, and Connolly argues that the lack of steal attempts is a sign of respect from opposing offenses for the backstop’s arm.
- One of Wieters’ teammates, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, should accept a demotion to the minors to get back on track, opines Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. After yielding six runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks in just 1 2/3 innings Saturday, Jimenez’s ERA spiked to 6.36. In his six May starts, the 32-year-old allowed 43 hits, nearly an earned run per frame (27 in 29 1/3 innings) and struck out as many hitters as he walked (19). Worsening matters is a contract that pays the ex-Rockies star $13MM this year and another $13.5MM in 2017. The Orioles would perhaps be willing to cut bait on Jimenez and eat the remaining $22.7MM on his deal if they had more starting options, which they don’t, per Schmuck.
- It appeared Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson was making progress in his recovery from a shoulder injury, but he suffered a setback Saturday and had to be shut down, reports Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. The Angels diagnosed Wilson with biceps tendinitis and will send him for further tests before determining what comes next. Wilson, who’s making $20MM this season in a contract year, hasn’t taken the hill for the Halos since last July because of elbow and shoulder issues.
- Red Sox right-hander Brandon Workman – on the mend from June 2015 Tommy John surgery – could serve as a bullpen reinforcement for the club later in the season, relays Ian Browne of MLB.com. Workman last pitched in 2014 and owns a less-than-stellar 5.11 ERA – including a 6.07 mark as a reliever – in 128 2/3 major league innings, but manager John Farrell likes that the 27-year-old racked up experience with a World Series winner in 2013. “Extremely valuable,” he said of Workman’s time with that Red Sox team. Going forward, Farrell added, “How he throws and how the arm strength returns will indicate how we factor him in and what he’s going to be capable of.”