The San Diego Padres are an awful 44-70 and careening toward their eighth straight losing season. But hope springs eternal in baseball, and apparently there is a feeling that a turnaround is coming soon. Hunter Renfroe, the former Mississippi State star from Crystal Springs, is bidding to be a part of that brighter future. Getting a start in all four of the Padres’ games in Chicago over the weekend, Renfroe went 5-for-15, including a two-run homer in Sunday’s 10-6 win over the first-place Cubs. For the year, the 26-year-old outfielder is batting .238 with nine homers and 31 RBIs. He has 20 walks and 62 strikeouts in 214 at-bats over 69 games. After an uneven 2017 campaign, during which he hit 26 homers but fanned 140 times, Renfroe had to win a roster spot in spring training. He did, but an elbow injury put him on the disabled list in mid-April and he didn’t return to the Padres’ roster until May 28. His playing time was sporadic in June and July. The Padres have a boatload of outfielders and presumably will use the remaining weeks of the season to sort out who they want to keep around. “We have all these other guys. I just have to keep healthy, keep growing as a player and go into spring next year and be better than them,” Renfroe told the San Diego Union-Tribune. P.S. Home run-robbing catches by Taylorsville’s Billy Hamilton and Richton’s JaCoby Jones ranked second and third on MLB Network’s countdown of the top plays in the majors in July. A Keon Broxton homer-robbing catch was the No. 1 play.
In his first start with Class A Greensboro in almost two months, ex-Southern Miss star Taylor Braley threw the first five innings of a seven-inning no-hitter against Kannapolis on Sunday. Braley, now 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA for the Miami Marlins’ low-A club, went on the disabled list (shoulder) in late June and made two rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League before returning to the Grasshoppers. He struck out four and walked two, throwing 66 pitches, on Sunday. “He just kind of lived up in the strike zone today and he got a lot of weak contact,” Grasshoppers manager Mike DiFelice told milb.com. Braley, a two-way standout at USM and Oak Grove High before that, was a sixth-round pick by the Marlins in 2017. He posted a 2.66 ERA in limited innings last summer. Greensboro’s catcher for the no-no was Will Allen, the Ole Miss product who is hitting .244 with seven homers in his fourth pro season. He was originally drafted by Detroit in 2014.