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Derek Dietrich
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Baseball Daily Dose

Hat Trick for Dietrich

by Matt Stroup
Updated On: May 29, 2019, 4:27 am ET

When there were bees at the ballpark, he came out dressed up in full beekeeper garb.

When the lights went out in Oakland, he suited up as a handyman.

When the Reds donned 1911 throwback uniforms, he painted an eye black mustache on his face — just because.

And when he sends a big fly soaring into the night, this guy stops to watch it go

So yes, Derek Dietrich has already lived a brief lifetime in about 60 days so far this season. And on Tuesday evening, the Reds utility guy/showman unleashed his most impressive performance yet, smashing three home runs with six RBI against Pittsburgh.

That tour de force gives Dietrich seven home runs this season at the expense of the Pirates — who have to really dislike him by now — and a career-high 17 home runs in just 52 games this year. He has watched 12 of those beautiful taters fly out of the yard in the month of May alone.

If you’re wondering, the only players with more home runs than Dietrich this season are Christian Yelich (21) and Cody Bellinger (20). That’s it. He’s also tied with George Springer, Gary Sanchez, Eddie Rosario, Alex Bregman, Pete Alonso and Josh Bell with 17.

So that’s all pretty thrilling. Now, here’s the (mildly) astonishing part: Dietrich, as of this writing, is still available to add in 57 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

Now granted, home runs have not been hard to find this season, plus this is a guy who came into Tuesday hitting .237, and doesn’t really play against lefties, so that may explain the hesitation for some fantasy owners. Then again, this is also a guy who hit .265 in 499 at-bats last season, has hit .297 since the start of May and has second base eligibility in fantasy. 

Ultimately, it comes down to this: When you combine extreme swagger with prolific production, and throw middle infield eligibility into that volatile mix, it’s high time to add the guy to your roster and figure the rest out later.

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Giolito’s Gem

It was time to take Lucas Giolito seriously when he threw a complete-game shutout against the Astros last week. He went out and backed that up on Tuesday with eight innings of three-hit, three-run ball and 10 strikeouts — including 26 swinging strikes — against the Royals.

In fairness, the Royals lineup isn’t anyone’s idea of scary, but it’s getting more and more difficult to discount Giolito’s success. Over his last seven starts, he has a 1.64 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 44 innings. And for the season, the former first-round pick has a 2.85 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, with 69 strikeouts, 20 walks and just 39 hits allowed in 60 innings. 

Altuve’s Setback

In some potentially disconcerting injury news out of Houston, Jose Altuve — who was close to returning from a left hamstring strain — was pulled from his minor league rehab assignment due to “fatigue and soreness” in his surgically-repaired right knee. A.J. Hinch then provided something of a contradictory update on Tuesday night, saying that the Astros got "encouraging" news about Altuve, but also saying (per beat writer Chandler Rome) that Altuve will need some time to "strengthen his lower half."  It's hard to know exactly where Hinch is coming from in terms of what he considers encouraging, and the notion of Altuve needing some time leaves things pretty wide open in either direction. The 29-year-old Altuve, who has now missed 17 straight games, is hitting .243 with nine home runs and one stolen base this season.  

Also for Houston, Carlos Correa was out of the lineup for a second straight day due to rib soreness. He was being evaluated by doctors as of Tuesday afternoon.

Herrera Arrested

NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Odubel Herrera was arrested Monday night following an alleged domestic violence incident, and he’s now been placed on administrative leave as Major League Baseball begins an investigation. As for the immediate baseball implications, Herrera's absence of at least seven days — and possibly longer with a suspension looming — should open up even more of an opportunity for Scott Kingery. Kingery has already been getting fairly regular at-bats the last week or so, and has put up intriguing numbers in limited playing time this season, with a .339 average, two homers and two stolen bases in just 59 at-bats. The 25-year-old is currently rostered in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues. 

AL Quick Hits: A struggling Jose Ramirez had two hits, two walks and two stolen bases on Tuesday. ... Justin Upton is reportedly hoping to be activated in about three weeks. … Byron Buxton left Tuesday’s game with a bruised right knee after crashing into the wall trying to make a catch. … Tim Anderson (wrist) missed a fourth straight start. … Michael Pineda landed on the injured list with right knee tendinitis. … Mitch Moreland (bruised knee) was out of the lineup again. …  Yandy Diaz (hand) took live BP on Tuesday. … Mike Zunino (quad) was set to start a minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday. … Aaron Judge (oblique) hit off a tee on Monday as he continues to escalate his rehab. … Cavan Biggio was out due to an illness. … Nathan Eovaldi (elbow) is set to throw a simulated game later this week. … Matthew Boyd threw six shutout innings against the Orioles to lower his season ERA to 2.85. … DJ Stewart made his season debut for the Orioles and had three hits and a stolen base (after hitting .316 with eight home runs and four steals at Triple-A). … Devin Smeltzer threw six shutout innings with seven strikeouts in his major league debut against the Brewers. … Zach Plesac (nephew of Dan) tossed 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in his debut against the Red Sox. Plesac had a 1.41 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 56/7 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. 

NL Quick Hits: Stephen Strasburg tied his season-high with 11 strikeouts against the Braves. … Rookie sensation Austin Riley had three hits, including his sixth home run, to raise his average to .365. … Nick Pivetta allowed three earned runs with six strikeouts in five innings as he returned to the Phillies rotation. … Adam Wainwright struck out 10 Phillies hitters, his first double-digit strikeout game since 2014. … Jordan Lyles was removed from Tuesday night’s game due to left hamstring discomfort. … Joe Maddon said he's preparing for the possibility that Ben Zobrist (personal) may not return this season. ... Joey Votto was out of the lineup for a second straight game due to a tight right hamstring. … As expected, James Paxton (knee) is set to return on Wednesday against Chris Paddack and the Padres. … Kris Bryant (head/neck) was out of the starting lineup again on Tuesday, but could return on Wednesday. Jason Heyward returned and hit his eighth homer. … Yadier Molina may get a day off Wednesday. … The Pirates sent Mitch Keller back to Triple-A after a rough big league debut on Monday (six earned runs in four innings). … Pedro Strop threw a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Iowa.