Here are some of the top news stories in Major League Baseball for the first week in September:
Ryan Howard Announces Retirement
Former National League Most Valuable Player, Ryan Howard, has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball at the age of 38. Howard spent his entire Major League career with the Philadelphia Phillies despite signing Minor League deals with the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies last season. He has not appeared in a MLB game since the 2016 season.
Howard was a three-time National League All-Star during his 13 seasons with the Phillies. He helped Philadelphia to a World Series Championship in 2008. In 2006, Howard belted 58 home runs and drove in 149 runs to earn himself the National League MVP Award. The big first baseman suffered a torn achilles tendon during the NLDS in 2011 and his career was never the same.
Cole Hamels Calls Out Brewers Fans
Newly acquired Chicago Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels took a shot at the Milwaukee Brewers and their fans on Monday afternoon. Hamels made another strong start for the Cubs, but the Brewers rallied for a 4-3 walk-off victory over their rivals. Hamels wouldn’t call it a rivalry due to the large number of Cubs fans that invaded Miller Park on Monday afternoon.
There were 44,462 fans at Miller Park for the series opener, and a majority of them were wearing Cubbie blue. The Brewers have taken steps to prevent Cubs fans from purchasing tickets at Miller Park, but their strategy hasn’t worked. The Milwaukee Brewers climbed to just four games back of the Chicago Cubs in the Central Division with the win on Monday.
Jacob DeGrom Ties MLB Record
New York Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom tied the Major League record for most consecutive starts allowing three or fewer runs. DeGrom gave up just one earned run in six sparkling innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night. He joins Chicago Cubs pitcher King Cole with 25 consecutive starts of three or fewer runs. Cole accomplished the feat in 1910. DeGrom broke the previous Mets record of 24 set by Dwight Gooden in 1985. The right-hander is just 8-8 on the season despite leading the Majors with a 1.68 earned run average.
Donaldson Impressive in Rehab Assignment
The Cleveland Indians placed newly acquired Josh Donaldson on the 10-day disabled list so that he could begin a rehab assignment. Donaldson appeared in a game for Triple-A Columbus on Monday afternoon and blasted a grand slam while also playing six innings at third base. The former Toronto Blue Jays star will now head to Double-A Akron to finish out his rehab stint.
Donaldson will be eligible to be activated from the DL on September 11 and will provide the Indians with another veteran bat in their lineup. Donaldson was on the disabled list with a calf strain from May 24 until the day he was traded to the Indians. He appeared in just 36 games with the Blue Jays this season.
Max Scherzer Matches Big Unit
Washington Nationals hurler Max Scherzer pitched his way into the record books on Monday afternoon. Scherzer struck out 11 batters in seven innings of work in the Nationals 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. With those 11 strikeouts, Scherzer became just the second player to record 250 strikeouts in a season for five straight years. He joins Randy Johnson who accomplished this feat from 1997-2002. Scherzer is also just 6 ⅔ innings away from eclipsing the 200 innings pitched mark for a sixth straight season.
Aaron Judge Begins Swinging
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge finally had a bat in his hands on Monday afternoon in Oakland. Judge took swings for the first time since fracturing his right wrist in July and hit 25 balls off the tee before the Yankees game against the Athletics. Judge fractured his right wrist on July 27 after he was hit by a pitch thrown by Royals pitcher Jakob Junis.
The Yankees expected Judge to miss just three weeks, but there have been setbacks along the way. Yankees manager Aaron Boone hopes that Judge can begin taking batting practice as soon as this weekend to move onto the next step in the rehab process. Judge says he plans to be back in action in less than two weeks.