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Elephant Rumblings: Esteury Ruiz reaches 50 stolen bases

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

The second half of the A’s - White Sox series was pretty anticlimactic, but Esteury Ruiz provided a glimmer of joy for fans in yesterday’s 6-1 loss to Chicago. The A’s were no-hit through five innings by Sox starter Mike Clevinger. Ruiz came up to lead off the sixth and broke up the no-no with a base hit to left field. Then, he stole second base to reach an impressive milestone of fifty swipes for the season.

Ruiz went on to steal third base moments later, and then scored the A’s only run of the afternoon.

Ruiz is the only rookie in A’s franchise history to steal at least 50 bases, and with 31 games left in the season, he will keep putting distance between himself and former record holder Mitchell Page, who stole 42 bases in 1977. All-time MLB steals leader and Hall of Fame member Rickey Henderson recorded 33 steals in his rookie campaign, now third best in franchise history.

One big question for Ruiz at this point is whether he can set a new AL record for stolen bases by a rookie. The current mark of 66 was set by Cleveland’s Kenny Lofton in 1992. It is certainly doable for speedy Ruiz, but he’s been spending more time on the bench due to recent struggles with the bat and the A’s desire to get a better look at outfield prospect Lawrence Butler.

Ruiz also missed nearly all of July due to a shoulder injury, otherwise he might already be perilously close to the record—or even have surpassed it. I’m sure he will be in aggressive pursuit of Lofton through September, and I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Esteury will get that 67th swipe before the season ends. Just a gut feeling!

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He hasn’t missed a beat.

Condolences to the Braden family. :-(