WASHINGTON — The question went like this:
“The only players in major league history to hit at least 25 homers and drive in at least 100 runs in their first four seasons are Joe DiMaggio, Albert Pujols and someone in this clubhouse. Who is it?”
Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer thought for more than half a minute before saying: “I feel like there’s an obvious guess. Mike Trout?”
Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ actually turned and looked at the man standing one locker from his own — the White Sox’ Jose Abreu, the answer to the question — and then guessed Trout, too.
“And I know it can’t be Trout because he’s been in the league longer than that.”
This is season No. 8 for for the Angels superstar, actually.
Only one American League All-Star out of seven who were asked gave the correct answer. That was Twins pitcher Jose Berrios. He, too, uttered the word “Trout” before pointing with his thumb toward the big first baseman standing a few feet away.
“I guessed Abreu because he’s a great hitter,” Berrios said. “It’s fun to pitch to him, but very hard.”
He’s the Manny
How did the Cubs react to the buzzing reports that Orioles shortstop Manny Machado was headed to the Dodgers via trade?
Pitcher Jon Lester called the addition of Machado to the defending National League champions a “game changer.” That could make it extra tough for the Cubs to get past the Dodgers if the teams collide for a third straight year on the road to the World Series.
“But I think we have a pretty good chance of winning regardless,” Lester said.
Catcher Willson Contreras let his smirk do much of the talking.
“If he gets traded, he gets traded,” Contreras said. “I’m not thinking about the Dodgers.”
A helping Hand?
The last time Padres closer Brad Hand pitched, he blew a save against the Cubs. He has been successful in 24 save opportunities this season, though, and struck out 65 batters in 44 1/3 innings.
The Cubs reportedly are interested in trading for the 28-year-old lefthander — and the interest is mutual.
“They’re obviously playing well right now,” he said. “They’re a good team. Chicago’s a good city.”
Hand, who grew up in Minneapolis, has a close friend in Cubs reliever Steve Cishek. They were bullpen mates with the Marlins.
A closed book
Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was tight-lipped on the subject of former manager Mike Matheny, who was fired Saturday after six and a half seasons at the helm.
“I wish him the best,” the nine-time All-Star said. “But right now you have to turn the page and try to move on.”