Daniel Nava's first swing is grand
Red Sox rookie cracks homer in first Major League at-bat
On the very first pitch he saw in his career, Daniel Nava ripped the ball into the right-field bullpen Saturday at Fenway Park for a grand slam. Not bad for a player who weighed 70 pounds in high school and battled each step of the way in organized baseball.
"My eyes need Band-Aids I've been crying so much," his dad, Don Nava,told the Boston Herald. "He wasn't a prospect. He's never been a prospect. He washed uniforms for two years at Santa Clara. He's called me between the washer and the dryer. I say, 'What are you doing?' He says, 'I've got a pocket full of quarters.'"
Walker, Kelly square off in family affair: It was a family affair when Neil Walker and Don Kelly found themselves playing against each other over the weekend as the Pirates faced the Tigers. Walker's older sister, Carrie, is married to Kelly.
"Not too many people can say they've played in the big leagues against some type of relative," Walker told MLB.com. "That was really special. Who knows if we'll ever get the chance to do it again."
Added Kelly: "I think it was not only special for Neil and I but for the whole family."
Weaver brothers part of sibling rivalry: The rivalry between the Angels and Dodgers extended to a sibling one on Sunday when Jered Weaver, 27, started for the Angels and Jeff Weaver, 33, entered the game as a reliever for the Dodgers. Both Weaver brothers got to hit, with Jeff striking out and Jered hitting a ground out.
"Why is he swinging at it?" Jered joked to the Los Angeles Times about the off-speed pitch on which his brother struck him out. "He's the better hitter of the two of us, so you still have to keep him off balance."
Venters getting sage advice from elders: Atlanta's Jonny Venters is off to a quick start in the Majors. The 25-year-old rookie lefty is 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA in his first 27 2/3 innings pitched. Venters also has 31 strikeouts in that time frame. His performance has earned praise from fellow lefty relievers Eric O'Flaherty and Billy Wagner.
"Every time we're down in the bullpen, when Billy and I are talking about facing lefties and stuff like that, we say 'Jonny, don't worry about it. It doesn't apply to you, because your stuff's so good,' O'Flaherty told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"His ball moves three feet, and it's 95 miles an hour, left-handed. It's just something that guys don't see. So we tell him, 'Just throw strikes. Don't even listen to any of this. Just throw your crap right down the middle.'"
Posada's consecutive grand slams a rarity: Jorge Posada became the first Yankees player to hit grand slams in consecutive games since Bill Dickey in 1937. Posada smashed a grand slam on Saturday to lift New York past Houston, 9-3, and then hit one on Sunday to break open a close game and lead the Yankees to a sweep of the three-game series. His home run Sunday was the 251st of his career and moved him into seventh place on the club's all-time list.
"To be in the situation to hit two grand slams is amazing. It doesn't happen often, as you can tell," Posada told the New York Daily News. "Bill Dickey, another catcher. It's amazing how baseball, out of all those people, it was another catcher, hitting two grand slams. That's pretty special."
Lincoln hopes to impress in debut: When Pittsburgh opens its homestand on Tuesday, fans are going to get their first look at rookie Brad Lincoln, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 Draft.
"I hope that I can impress," Lincoln told MLB.com. "Hopefully, they expect a lot. They should expect me to go out there and perform to the max and give them a show. For me, I'm going to treat it just like any other game, and go out there, do what I do and hope to come out with a win. It will be exciting. It will probably be just like my first start."
Peavy chalks up 100th win: After recording his 100th career win Friday night, Jake Peavy was admittedly humbled.
"Getting 92 in San Diego was something cool. It was special for a long time," Peavy told MLB.com. "But it's a new chapter of my life.
"I'm going to try to win 100 more and go from there. So, we'll see what happens. It's very humbling."
Healthy Kearns at top of his game: Austin Kearns joined the Indians as a free agent this season and has played his best ball since breaking in with the Reds as a 22-year-old rookie in 2002. Kearns credits good health for his resurgence. Kearns, who is batting .301 with a .386 on-base percentage and a .497 slugging mark in his first 50 games with the Indians, played with a hurt thumb while with the Nats.
"That's something probably everybody is guilty of at some point," Kearns told the The Washington Post. "Sometimes, you don't realize until after it would have been best to go ahead and get healthy, get yourself well. It's the competitive nature of wanting to be out there."
Lopez back on track after surgery: Rodrigo Lopez battled hard in Spring Training to earn the fourth spot in the Diamondbacks' starting rotation. Now, Lopez is on pace to throw 200-plus innings, which he hasn't done since 2005.
"It's a good story because he's had to persevere through quite a bit to get to this point," manager A.J. Hinch told the The Arizona Republic.
Lopez had to undergo Tommy John surgery in August 2007. He was able to make it back to the Majors last season, but he only threw 30 innings for the Phillies. This offseason, he signed a Minor League deal with Arizona.
Wright is producing for Mets: David Wright smashed two home runs on Sunday to lead the Mets to an 11-4 win over Baltimore and a sweep of the three-game series. Wright now has 12 home runs this season, two more than he hit all of last season.
"He is having a great year," teammate Jason Bay told the New York Post. "Can we say quietly? It's kind of unheralded. You look up, his numbers are great. It just kind of happened. I think that's the way he likes it."
Pena enjoys thrill of homer streak: Carlos Pena hit home runs in six consecutive games -- the longest streak since 2006 -- before it ended Sunday.
"I keep on saying I'm just grateful I have an opportunity to do it," Pena told the Tampa Tribune about his streak before Sunday's game. "That is awesome, so I never lose sight of that."
Pena's average is up nearly 30 points.
Branyan, Huff understand the Strasburg hype: After getting a first-hand look at Stephen Strasburg on Sunday, Russell Branyan and David Huff came away with a better understanding of the hype surrounding the young phenom.
"There's a reason why they picked him with the first pick in the Draft last year," Branyan told MLB.com. "He's got a good, young arm that's very promising."
"A guy like him comes around once every blue moon," teammate David Huff told MLB.com. "It's great for the game."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.