The New York Yankees have added another starting infield candidate, acquiring Brandon Drury in a three-way trade that also saw the Tampa Bay Rays send outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rays receive second baseman prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees and pitcher Anthony Banda and two players to be named from the Diamondbacks.
Arizona also receives starting pitcher Taylor Widener from the Yankees.
Drury can play either second base or third base for a team that was looking at potentially starting rookies at both spots this season. Drury hit .267 with 13 homers and 63 RBI in 135 games with Arizona last season.
After trading third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Starlin Castro this offseason, and not re-signing free agent third baseman Todd Frazier, the Yankees were looking to add a veteran infielder in case either Gleyber Torres or Miguel Andujar isn’t ready to crack the starting lineup as a rookie.
Torres, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) elbow, will get a shot to start at third base in spring training, while Andujar could open the year as the starting second baseman.
Drury could start at either spot, spending most of his time at second baseman last year with the Diamondbacks. He has also seen time at third base, as well as in left and right field.
Souza hit .239 with 30 homers and 78 RBI in 148 games last year with Tampa Bay. He adds another bat for an Arizona club looking to replace the offense of J.D. Martinez, who has agreed to a deal with the Boston Red Sox.
Souza is the latest starter to be traded away by the Rays, who are in rebuilding mode.
Souza had just arrived back in Rays camp on Tuesday after attending to a family matter in Seattle and was asked about the departure in recent days of teammates Jake Odorizzi (traded to Twins) and Corey Dickerson, who was designated for assignment.
“They’re both dear friends to me, but this is part of the business and we all signed up for this,” Souza told the Tampa Bay Times before learning he’d also be playing elsewhere. “And I think this is not a shocker to anybody. This is the way the Rays operated for the last couple of years. It’s our job to be professionals, accept what’s happening and go out there and do the best we can. I think we have a good group in here.”
Of the prospects involved in the trade, the left-handed Banda was ranked seventh among Diamondbacks’ prospects by ESPN’s Keith Law. Widener was ranked 15th, and Solak 18th, in the Yanks’ farm system according to Law.
Yankees tie franchise record with 12th straight win vs. Red Sox
But in the past two years, it has certainly turned into a one-sided affair.
The Yankees pummeled the Red Sox 8-0 on Saturday night for their 12th consecutive victory over their AL East rivals, tying a franchise record. The Yankees have won 12 straight games vs. Boston and 17 of the last 18 games between the clubs since July 28, 2019.
“It’s probably a little bit fluky, a little aberration,” said manager Aaron Boone when addressing the franchise’s record-tying streak. “Obviously, [the Red Sox] haven’t quite been the same team this year with some of the guys they’ve lost and some of the guys in their pitching staff that they’ve lost due to injury.
“And this year I know we’ve played them at some times when we’ve been playing really well. We’ve stolen a couple wins from them, like late last night. Last year, we caught them at a good time at the end of the year. Look, it’s always fun beating those guys. We obviously respect who they are and all the great games we’ve had to play against them, but … enjoy it while it lasts.”
The Yankees’ current win streak against Boston is their longest since winning 12 straight from Aug. 16, 1952 to April 23, 1953. It’s only the third time in franchise history that the Yankees have won 12 straight games against the Red Sox (also May 27-Aug 23, 1936).
J.A. Happ, who worked eight scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season, said the Yankees were mindful of the winning streak and hoped to set a new record on Sunday when they play their last game of the season at Fenway Park.
“I know we have a good team and we’re playing well,” Happ said. “We are aware of that number [12 straight], excited to get out there tomorrow and try to take the nod [set the record] there. We recognized it tonight that we could tie it.”
“We’re focused on trying to put ourselves in a really good position for the playoffs, and winning [Sunday] would set the record — and that’s going to be really cool thing if we do,” added outfielder Clint Frazier, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
The Yankees have now won a season-high 10 straight games, matching their longest winning streak since June 2012. During their current streak, the Bronx Bombers have hit 29 home runs and have outscored opponents 85-25.
At 31-21, the Yankees clinched their 28th consecutive winning record since 1993, the second-longest stretch in MLB history behind only their own streak of 39 straight winning seasons from 1926-64. The Yankees’ “magic number” to clinch a postseason berth currently stands at one.
Minnesota Twins’ Josh Donaldson says MLB umps have ‘no accountability’
Two days after his ejection at home plate, Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson lashed out at Major League Baseball’s umpires, saying there’s “no accountability” with the group and that the umps “don’t care.”
“[If] the umpire consistently isn’t doing [his] job correctly, that’s affecting our careers, that’s affecting our success,” Donaldson told reporters on Saturday in a video call, according to a transcription by the Star Tribune. “At the end of the day, there’s no reprimand, no accountability for the guys that are making the decision. As a matter of fact, they don’t care. They don’t care at all, most of them. They just want to get the game over with, for the most part, and it’s pretty sad because guys are making six figures a year and there’s no accountability.”
Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time Thursday in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. With Minnesota trailing 3-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 American League MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli went out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.
Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.
Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.
“It doesn’t matter to them,” Donaldson told reporters on Saturday. “They don’t realize we’re playing for our families, we’re playing for our livelihood.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Longtime baseball pro scout Gary Hughes dies at 79
SAN FRANCISCO — Gary Hughes, a beloved professional scout for numerous big league organizations during a 54-year career, has died in Northern California after a battle with cancer. He was 79.
Hughes was a regular at Bay Area ballparks in recent years working for the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Arizona announced his death in a statement Saturday, saying he passed earlier in the day.
“Gary Hughes was the quintessential baseball man,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “He coached at various levels. He scouted. He developed players. And he helped put together major league rosters.”
Hughes had lived for years in the scenic coastal city of Santa Cruz.
“Gary’s impact on the game of baseball was exceeded only by the number of friends he made throughout it,” the Diamondbacks said. “He was a member of the Giants, Mariners, Mets, Yankees, Expos, Marlins, Rockies, Reds, Cubs and Red Sox organizations before joining the D-backs and it was an honor to have a legend like him be part of our family for two seasons.”
A member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, Hughes always was a popular figure when he turned up before games with a briefcase and a big grin, ready to work or share his baseball knowledge with genuine care and love for the game.
“He scouted me in high school, I’ve known Gary for that long,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said immediately after a win against the San Francisco Giants when told of Hughes’ death. “I consider him a friend, a good friend. I knew he was struggling some, I knew he went into hospice. It’s awful.”
During his years with the Cubs, Hughes was Jim Hendry’s right-hand man assisting in many matters — even handling media duties at the winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in December 2006 when Hendry was rushed to the hospital.
Hughes was thrilled to share tales of his days scouting baseball players who became NFL stars: John Elway and John Lynch before they picked football instead.
“They threw away the mold after Gary,” longtime executive Tony Siegle said. “He was always at the right place at the right time. Gary set a standard for helping to make teams win. There will never be another like him.”
Hughes worked as the Expos’ scouting director and Marlins assistant general manager. In Montreal, he helped acquire catcher Jerry Goff from Seattle in 1990. Jerry is father to star Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Hughes was thrilled when Jared Goff reached the Super Bowl in February 2019.
“More than anything, he was a tremendous person, a great storyteller and a friend to everyone whose path he crossed,” the Diamondbacks said. “He will be missed by so many and our thoughts are with his family including his sons, Sam and (Michael) `Rock,’ who carry on his legacy in the game.”
On Aug. 21, 2017, Hughes made sure to get down to the field to greet Milwaukee’s Craig Counsell on the Brewers’ manager’s birthday. Hughes’ son, Michael “Rock” Hughes, longtime Marlins visiting clubhouse manager, is married to Counsell’s sister.
Another son, Sam, is the Yankees’ national crosschecker.
“Gary was one of the game’s great personalities and became one of the all-time greats in the world of scouting,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “He started with the Yankees in 1978, his first full-time scouting job for nine years. He had a heavy hand in multiple world championships for many teams but most importantly he was an amazing person and a tremendous father. He will be dearly missed.”
Hughes was born on Feb. 2, 1941.
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