Today’s news is powered by an orchestra-accompanied version of a Dire Straits classic:
- No 2nd surgery for A-Rod?:
When Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees picked Dr. Marc Philippon to operate on the superstar’s right hip in March, they did so because they believed the Vail-based surgeon was the best in the business.
. . . When Philippon was done with the March 9 surgery, which repaired a torn labrum, removed an impingement and drained a cyst, the doctor said Rodriguez was looking at another operation after the season was finished. Now, there is a chance Rodriguez can avoid the second operation.
“Eighty percent no; 20 percent yes,” Rodriguez told The Post before sitting out last night’s game against the Orioles at Camden Yards. “But you got to call him.”
. . . Though Philippon deserves credit, so does Mark Lindsay, the chiropractor Rodriguez has worked with since the surgery.
- “S-Dunc” and “A-Jax” get it done:
The league leader in home runs, RBIs and runs scored, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees right fielder Shelley Duncan has been named the International League MVP. He’s the second Scranton/Wilkes-Barre player to win the award, following Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, who won it in 2005.
Duncan has eclipsed his own franchsie record by hitting 29 home runs this season, and he’s eight away from becoming the second player in franchise history to amass 100 RBIs in a season. After a breakout 2007, Duncan had a bizarre and unsteady 2008 that saw him shuttled to and from New York before landing on the disabled list. This season, though, he was back in a big way.
Yankees center fielder Austin Jackson has won the league’s Rookie of the Year award, becoming the third player in franchise history to do so. Long time major league second baseman Marlon Anderson won it in 1998 and right-handed pitcher Brandon Duckworth won it in 2001, when he was also the league’s Pitcher of the Year.
At 22 years old, playing in a league usually dominated by veterans, Jackson is third in the league in hits and leads the league in triples. He’s top 20 in runs, stolen bases and batting average. Earlier this season, Baseball America conducted a poll of International League managers who named Jackson the league’s top hitting prospect.
- Tyler Kepner compares this year’s model to the 2006 squad:
The Yankees are certainly an excellent regular-season team again. And with September upon us, it’s a good time to look ahead to October. If the season ended today, the Yankees would see those Tigers in the division series again.
That means Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Jarrod Washburn and Rick Porcello – a more formidable on paper than the 2006 group of Nate Robertson, Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman.
By October 2006 the Yankees were a jumble of mismatched offensive and defensive parts. (Remember Gary Sheffield playing first base?) This Yankees offense functions well together, with power, discipline, speed, and a knack for success in the late innings.
As for the theory that the Yankees rely too much on homers, consider last fall. The 2008 Phillies also played in a cozy ballpark and led their league in homers. They won the World Series and did it with clutch home runs in every postseason series.
- Kepner also has a profile of new call-up Mike Dunn.
- Will Carroll opines on the latest revision of “The Joba Rules”:
It’s essentially a case of putting him in a tandem role, though it doesn’t appear that he has a designated partner. I’m not sure if this will do anything more than limit his innings, but shutting him down might be a better plan if they’re that concerned. The thing that gets me is that the team was earlier saying that Phil Hughes couldn’t come out of the pen and move back into the rotation (not that he should have!) because of de-conditioning. That’s essentially what they’re doing here. With Andy Pettitte throwing well, Chamberlain is the clear fourth starter. That means he might or might not be used in the playoff rotation, and could be worked out of the pen. Why not start that now, with limits on how often he can be used?
- Turns out you WON’T have to choose between the Yanks and Yom Kippur after all:
ESPN and Major League Baseball have agreed to switch the starting time of a Yankees-Red Sox game to avoid conflicting with Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
ESPN told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Sept. 27 game was returning to its original start time of 1 p.m. EDT. It had been changed to 8 p.m. to accommodate ESPN’s schedule; Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and atonement, begins at sundown that evening.
“I am pleased we were able to resolve this sensitive issue that impacted many baseball fans and are able to move the game at Yankee Stadium to 1 p.m.,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement, crediting ESPN for helping to “solve this conflict.” ESPN will still televise the game.
[My take: But whatever will Selig do if the game is tied at sundown?]
- Rex Hudler turns 49 today. Hudler’s 13-year career spanned six different teams and work at seven different positions.
- On this date in 1939, when Babe Dahlgren strikes out while being given an intentional walk and George Selkirk and Joe Gordon try to steal home on successive pitches by trotting to the plate, Red Sox fans throw a barrage of garbage onto playing field at Fenway Park to protest the Yankees making deliberate outs to take advantage of the 6:30 Sunday curfew. Umpire Cal Hubbard rules the Boston crowd’s action makes it impossible to continue the game and awards the game as a forfeit to the Yankees with a 9-0 ‘official’ score.
- On this date in 1969, Ralph Houk signs a new 3-year contract with the Yankees at $65,000 a season, the highest managerial salary in either league.
- On this date in 1996, David Cone makes a dramatic return to the mound after his May operation to remove an aneurysm in his pitching arm by pitching seven no-hit innings. The Yankees beat the A’s 4-0 as Mariano Rivera gives up one hit to Jose Herrera in the eighth.
- On this date in 2001, with two outs and two strikes, Red Sox pinch hitter Carl Everett singles in the bottom of the ninth to break up Mike Mussina’s bid for a perfect game. The Yankee right-hander beats Boston 1-0 for his fourth career one-hitter.