On Monday, it was announced Polanco led all American League shortstops in All-Star votes. On Tuesday, he followed it up by going 3-for-3 with two doubles and scoring the game-tying run in the eighth inning of Minnesota’s 6-5 win over Seattle. It’s been that kind of season for the 25-year-old. Polanco hit 10-for-26 last week to improve his batting average to an AL-best .341, while his on-base percentage ranks fifth in the AL at .401.
Max Kepler, Twins outfielder (⬆ UP)
Known as a streaky hitter, Kepler had a tough stretch last week when he went 0-for-21 with seven strikeouts in a span of five games. However, he rebounded in a big way last Thursday, connecting for four hits and three homers in Minnesota’s 5-4 win over Cleveland. There are now two players in the history of baseball to have multiple three-homer games against Cleveland: Kepler (who also did it Aug. 1, 2016) and some guy named Ted Williams. Kepler also joins Jim Thome as one of two players with multiple three-homer games at Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field). That seems alright. He’s only played 58 games this season, but the German outfielder is now a mere six homers away from setting a new career best in homers. Kepler’s current career high is 20, set last year.
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Minnesota Vikings front office (⬆ UP)
The Vikings’ front office is undefeated against the salary cap. They did it again. The Vikings signed tight end and team captain Kyle Rudolph to a four-year extension Tuesday, defying the rumors that Rudolph would be cut or traded to give Minnesota room to breathe in the cap. A lot of the credit goes to Rob Brzezinski, the executive vice president of football operations who is a noted expert (or should we say, master?) of the salary cap. Remember when the Vikings weren’t going to be able to re-sign anyone after bringing in quarterback Kirk Cousins on an $84 million contract? Well, since then they’ve inked deals and extensions with key players like (deep breath): Rudolph, wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and defensive end Danielle Hunter.
Martin Perez, Twins pitcher (⬇ DOWN)
Perez’s ERA was down to 2.95 after his first 11 starts of the season. But in his last three outings (12 1/3 innings) since then, he’s allowed 12 earned runs, 18 hits and seven walks. The Twins snuck out a win Tuesday night despite Perez’s short start of five innings, but they’ll need the left-hander to get back to that cutter magic that looked like it was revitalizing his career in the first couple months of the season.
Steve Jordan, former Vikings tight end (⬆ UP)
Rudolph isn’t the only Vikings tight end to be in the news of late. Jordan, who played for the Vikings from 1982-94, will be added to the Vikings “Ring of Honor” during the 2019 season, the team announced Wednesday. Jordan ranks third in team history with 498 catches. He also compiled 6,307 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns over his 13-year career and was named to six straight Pro Bowls from 1986-91. Even better, his son Cameron -- the New Orleans Saints’ four-time Pro Bowl defensive end -- just signed a three-year extension worth $52.5 million on Tuesday. It’s a good week in the Jordan household.
Nelson Cruz, Twins designated hitter (⬆ UP)
Since returning from the injured list June 4, Cruz is batting .292/.370/.792. He homered in four straight games and has found a way on base in five of six games while scoring a run in five games as well. Boomstick is back.