It was a weekend to honor a couple of baseball’s distinguished sluggers.
Adrian Beltre received a standing ovation in the Texas Rangers’ home finale Sunday. The star third baseman’s future is uncertain, but the fans showed their appreciation in case this turns out to be his final season. There was less ambiguity in Detroit, where Victor Martinez is calling it a career, and he played his last game Saturday.
Beltre has been noncommittal about his future, saying he’ll make a decision after discussions with family. He said he’s ready to accept that “maybe this is it” — but the door still seems at least somewhat open to a return. If he retires, he’s already done enough to earn plenty of Hall of Fame support, with over 3,100 hits in 21 seasons. This is his eighth season with the Rangers.
Martinez made his big league debut with Cleveland in 2002. He also played briefly with Boston before joining the Tigers prior to the 2011 season. Detroit immediately won four straight division titles after his arrival.
Martinez finished second in the American League MVP vote in 2014. His production slowed considerably after that, but he retires with a career average of .295, 2,153 hits and 246 home runs.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said although Martinez is done playing, he still wants the veteran’s help in the dugout during the team’s last road trip of the season.
Another big name who is retiring after this season is Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Utley’s best seasons came with Philadelphia, but he received a standing ovation Sunday in his final regular-season home game at Dodger Stadium. The NL West-leading Dodgers have a good chance to reach the postseason, but it’s hard to say what Utley’s role would be. He has only 28 at-bats since the All-Star break.
Elsewhere around the majors:
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius scored the run that clinched a postseason spot Saturday, but that headfirst slide left him with torn cartilage in his right wrist. His status is now uncertain for the AL wild-card game Oct. 3.
New York will likely face Oakland in that game in what would be a renewal of a postseason rivalry that included Division Series meetings in 2000 and 2001. Both those series went the full five games, with the Yankees prevailing. New York also swept Oakland 3-0 in the 1981 AL Championship Series.
It all went terribly wrong for Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Michael Feliz in the sixth inning Sunday against Milwaukee. First, he walked in two runs. Then the bases cleared in bizarre fashion. Feliz threw a wild pitch, which skipped all the way over near the Brewers’ dugout. Jesus Aguilar and Ryan Braun both scored, and first baseman Josh Bell’s throw — to try to get Braun — got away, allowing Orlando Arcia to score as well. The play was scored a wild pitch, with an error on Feliz, who was covering home when Bell’s throw came in.
The Brewers won 13-6.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Christian Yelich of Milwaukee became the first major leaguer to hit for the cycle twice in one season against the same team. He pulled that off when the Brewers beat Cincinnati 8-0 on Monday night. Yelich, who had hit for the cycle against the Reds less than three weeks earlier, did it again with a first-inning single, a second-inning double, a fifth-inning homer and sixth-inning triple.
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