Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball today. Yesterday was a bad one for the Yankees, although they won their spring training game 2-0 over the Braves. They were_ relatively lucky with the injury bug up to now. Yesterday they should have had an ambulance on site. First, closer Andrew Miller took a liner off his pitching wrist. The result is a chip fracture of the wrist, so he’s off to a hand specialist. Details will follow. So, with newly acquired closer Aroldis Chapman about to be suspended for 30 games for demonstrating one of the least appropriate ways to handle a marital spat, Miller’s injury takes out 2/3 of the Yankees’ relief trio. Dellin Betances is the last man standing, and may want to stay inside until Monday.
Following the Miller injury, reliever Bryan Mitchell who received a broken nose last summer in a frightening incident in the Bronx suffered a fractured big toe and limped as he returned to the dugout. Late breaking news is he’s out for 3 months after the fracture was revealed by an MRI. To show you how far baseball has come, when Dizzy Dean suffered a broken toe in the 1937 All-Star game, not only did he pitch on but the radio broadcaster Bob Elson made no particular mention of it. He thought it caught Dizzy in the leg. Dean had given up a home run to Lou Gehrig over the high and distant right field fence at Washington’s Griffith Stadium. The next batter was the Indians’ Earl Averill who hit the liner off Dean’s toe and fractured it. When told of it, Dean in his own way said “Fractured hell, the damned thing’s broken.” He played on, and by favoring the toe he injured his shoulder. His pitching career was curtailed and he went to the broadcast booth for a couple of decades. Now, a broken toe which still seems trivial to a regular person will keep Mitchell on the sidelines until June or July at best.
A couple of surprising releases have come to my attention. The Bluejays cut loose lefty reliever Randy Choate. Everybody_ needs a lefty reliever, so if he has a pulse and can locate home plate now and then he’ll find a home. More surprising is the fact that the Rays cut ties with James Loney, a .285 hitter over 10 years and a usable first baseman. The Yankees need a backup first baseman, since over the past few seasons Mark Teixeira has shown the durability of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.
Our only baseball birthday is one of the few good arguments for the DH rule in the National League or during interleague games. Chien-Ming Wang is 36 today. Even now his record is 62-34 but the Yankees hate to even think how much better it might have been. They signed him from Taiwan in 2000. He won 19 games in both 2006 and 2007 and was an All-Star in 2006. That year he won his first postseason game, the first of the ALDS against the Tigers. The next season he lost both of his ALDS starts to the Indians. On June 15, 2008 his career went to pieces when he injured his foot running the bases in an interleague game at Houston. He suffered two torn ligaments and didn’t pitch again that year. When he returned, weakness in both hips led to ineffective pitching. Following shoulder surgery in late 2009 he didn’t pitch again in the majors until summer of 2011. by then he was with the Washington Nationals. After inconsistent pitching with the Blue Jays in 2013 he hasn’t been in the show since. He was last heard from in Royals’ camp this spring.