MLB News & Moments You Should Know: 3/31/2024

Day after hard slide, Hoskins homers, then gets thrown at by Mets.

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As we hit the first Sunday of the 2024 MLB season, there are nine teams that have yet to taste defeat. Will we see another team do what the Tampa Bay Rays did in 2023 and win their first 13 games? Teams are still figuring out their identity and some early wins can help build the camaraderie needed to trudge through 162 games. Easter Sunday also brings back the memories of the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers, who were 11-0 entering the day. But they were down 4-1 to the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning. That’s when the magic happened. Just days after Juan Nieves threw the first no-hitter in team history, Rob Deer hit a three-run homer to tie the game with one out, then, with two outs and a runner on first, Dale Sveum crushed his only career walk-off homer to keep the Brewers perfect with a 6-4 victory.


Today’s Headlines


Hoskins vs. Mets (2024 Version)


There was no doubt that bad blood existed between Rhys Hoskins and the New York Mets prior to the 2024 season. That was thanks to a 2019 incident involving Hoskins, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, and a brushback pitch and a slow-trot homer by Hoskins. How deep that ran quickly became evident in the slugger’s first two games with his new team, the Milwaukee Brewers.

For the second time in as many days, the dugouts emptied onto the field, this time when Mets reliever Yohan Ramírez threw behind Hoskins (near head level) in the top of the seventh inning. Ramirez charged toward home plate and Hoskins, but that could have been because the ball was ricocheting off the backstop and a runner was on base. Ramirez was ejected. That was the follow-up to Hoskins’ late but legal slide into Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil in Friday’s opener that resulted in the first benches-clearing incident of the 2024 season (and Hoskins’ meme-worthy crybaby motion toward McNeil). But it took until Hoskins’ fourth plate appearance — and the slugger’s first homer since 2022 after missing all of 2023 with a knee injury — for the Mets to retaliate. Hoskins finished with three hits and four RBIs in the Brewers’ 7-6 triumph.


More Feistiness


You can understand players being on edge during a pennant race. But opening weekend? Something is definitely in the water after Toronto Blue Jays reliever Génesis Cabrera gave a two-handed shove to the head of José Caballero of the Tampa Bay Rays. Caballero had been tagged out trying to advance to third base and ran slightly past the bag and bumped into Cabrera, who was backing up the throw. The two exchanged words, then Cabrera took offense and struck the Rays’ shortstop, prompting the benches to empty. Cooler heads prevailed, but Cabrera was ejected. The Rays won 5-1.


Pirates’ Rookie K’s 10 in MLB Debut


Most prospects just don’t want to trip over themselves when they cross the foul line and make their MLB debut. Jared Jones certainly didn’t fall down. The Pittsburgh Pirates‘ No. 3 prospect (per MLB Pipeline) struck out 10 in 5.2 innings during a 9-3 victory over the Miami Marlins. It wasn’t all smooth (he walked two and allowed three runs), but for his first game in The Show, Jones showed that he might be a big part of the Pirates’ future.


Season-Ending Surgery for Twins’ DeSclafani; Lewis on IL


Anthony DeSclafani, expected to be part of a rebuilt Minnesota Twins rotation, will miss the season after having flexor tendon surgery Friday. The procedure is likely to affect the right-hander’s availability for Opening Day 2025. DeSclafani was already on the 60-day injured list after developing a forearm strain during spring training. Meanwhile, injury-plagued third baseman Royce Lewis was placed on the 10-day IL after being diagnosed with a severe quad strain. Lewis will be shut down for about a month and re-evaluated. The Twins recalled infielder Austin Martin from Triple-A. “Maybe I’m too electric for my own good,” Lewis told reporters.


Oakland Set to Offer A’s New Stadium Lease


As of this moment, the Oakland A’s don’t have a place to play next season. It is an extraordinary circumstance for a team that plans to move to Las Vegas as early as the 2028 season (or whenever a stadium gets built there). But the A’s lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after this season, leaving the team without a venue. But the city of Oakland is set to give the A’s a chance at remaining in the Coliseum by offering a new lease. The biggest part of that is a $97 million extension fee the A’s would pay the city. The two sides are set to meet Tuesday.


Best Moments From Yesterday


Rangers Get Their Rings


There is nothing like ring day for the reigning World Series champions. Saturday was that day for the Texas Rangers — and among the amazing detail is the first reversible top.


Soto Smashes No. 1 With Yankees


If the New York Yankees have their way, Juan Soto will hit a lot of home runs in pinstripes. So the fact that his first for the Yankees was a solo shot that snapped a tie in the seventh inning made it even sweeter. Soto’s opposite-field shot into the Crawford Boxes in left field kept the Yankees perfect at 3-0 with a 4-3 win over the Houston Astros.


Skenes’ Dynamic 2024 Debut


After being taken No. 1 overall in the 2023 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Paul Skenes got his feet wet in pro ball by pitching in five games and just 6.2 innings against three teams. In his 2024 debut at Triple-A, the fireballing right-hander struck out five in three perfect innings. He averaged 101.2 mph on his 21 fastballs (he threw 46 pitches total) and none were below 99.1 mph. While Skenes will need to build his endurance, it could only be a matter of time before the Pirates are forced to bring up their future ace.


A Man of the People


Players often take time before games to sign autographs for fans. But Randy Arozarena? The Rays’ star left fielder decided to make the day of a few kids and sign items following his first home run of the season — while in the dugout in the bottom of the fifth inning.


Unexpected Defense


Speaking of the Rays, they are known for getting the most out of their roster. Watching all of this, even the ballboys want to get involved.


Two First Names, One Monster Dinger


When Chicago White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. is healthy, he mashes.


Injuries and Other Moves


Yankees third baseman DJ LeMahieu, following a second MRI, has a nondisplaced fracture in his right foot and will be out for an extended period. LeMahieu, who sustained the injury on March 16 when he fouled a ball off his foot, was already on the 10-day IL. The first MRI was inconclusive.

The Chicago Cubs, as expected, placed Opening Day starter Justin Steele (strained left hamstring) on the 15-day injured list and promoted right-hander Ben Brown from Triple-A. Brown will make his MLB debut and take Steele’s spot in the rotation Tuesday or Wednesday.

Infielder Trey Lipscomb was called up to make his MLB debut by the Washington Nationals, who placed infielder Nick Senzel (broken right thumb) on the 10-day IL.

First baseman Dominic Smith signed a minor-league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.


Articles You Should Read


How baseball’s official historian dug up game’s unknown origins — Frederic J. Frommer, Smithsonian Magazine

How Soto helped inspired a change in youngster Cabrera  — Chris Kirchner, The Athletic

Inside a high-stakes roto draft in Vegas with legends — Travis Sawchik, The Score


Fantasy Baseball Coverage


Starting Pitcher Roundup

Hitter Performances

Reliever Ranks

Starting Pitcher Streamers

Steve Drumwright

Steve Drumwright is a lifelong baseball fan who retired as a player before he had the chance to be cut from the freshman team in high school. He recovered to become a sportswriter and have a successful journalism career at newspapers in Wisconsin and California. Follow him on Twitter and Threads @DrummerWrites.

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