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Derek Jeter Injury: Is This the New Normal for the Yankees Captain?

As tough as it is for baseball fans to come to terms with, Derek Jeter‘s injury issues appear to be the new normal for the aging superstar of the New York Yankees.

According to Mike Axisa of, Jeter will miss this weekend’s games against the San Diego Padres due to multiple issues with his right leg, including a lingering quad injury that originally halted his return this season after just one game.

Derek Jeter will not play against the Padres on Saturday or Sunday due to lingering soreness in his right quad, Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed. The team captain also has some soreness in his calf.

While the calf problem is nothing to write off as unimportant, what’s particularly troubling is that Jeter is having continuous troubles with his right quad. After all, it was the quad injury that stopped him from continuing his original return from last season’s major ankle injury.

Even while rehabbing his ankle, he had a setback in that process, which delayed his return from the start to the middle of the 2013 campaign.

The Yankees captain suffered the quad injury while running to first base back in early July, and it seems to be a nagging issue for the 39-year-old. To make matters worse, Jeter’s whole right leg is now acting up, and it couldn’t be more concerning for the Bronx Bombers.

Despite the fact that he is just 3-for-15 with one homer and one RBI since his second return, he still stands as the best option the Yanks have at shortstopboth offensively and defensivelywhether you’re talking about this season or next.

Losing him once again for an extended period of time will leave the Bombers even worse off offensively than they are now.

Judging from all the setbacks he’s had this season, it’s clear that the 39-year-old version of Jeter’s body isn’t healing quite as well as the 29-year-old version would have. As problematic as that is for his prospects moving forward, it is only natural and comes with the territory for elder statesmen in sports.

Sure, some players have managed to stave off Father Time (see: Mariano Rivera), but those cases are rare. And while Jeter has seemed to be immune to everything from injuries to his private life becoming public, not even he can beat the aging process.

It might be hard to accept, but chances are that he has seen his last days as a guy who can play 150 games or more. After all, 2013 will be the first season in his career that he fails to play in at least 100 games.

Instead, he will likely have to get more days off or at the very least half days off by batting in the designated hitter slot moving forward.

I’m sure Jeter won’t come to that realization easily, but he must realize it’s what’s best for the rest of his career and the team. He wouldn’t be the first to accept the fate of old age and won’t be the last either.

No timetable has been set for his return, but it could be anywhere from day-to-day to a stint on the disabled list that could end his season early, should it last more than the normal 15-day term.

If the worst-case scenario takes place, the floodgates will open, leading to speculative articles about the potential retirement of the greatest Yankee shortstop of all time.

Not so fast, people. Jeter is a competitor the likes of which we don’t get to see regularly, and there’s not a chance on this Earth that No. 2 takes this new normal on without a fight.

He will battle to his last physical breath to ensure that he doesn’t walk away from the game too early. He is a fighter and will always be one until his last day playing baseball.

Father Time will eventually win the battle, but nature better bring its A-game because Jeter will bring no less than that as he attempts to play into his 40s.


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New York Yankees’ 2013 Season Proves Bombers Can Win with Less Payroll

The New York Yankees continue to shock the baseball world with a great start to the 2013 campaign, and in that start, the Bombers are proving to themselves that it doesn’t take a team loaded with $100 million players to win.

After another victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night, the Bombers improved their record to 30-18 on the season and remain on top of the American League East division for another day.

And, in what was a microcosm of the Yanks’ season thus far, it was Lyle Overbay who came up with the big solo homer to put New York over the top in extra innings to beat its division rival Tampa Bay.

Overbay continues what has been a sensational season for him up to this point, with plenty of clutch hits already. Along with Overbay, other players off the scrap heap like Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner have also answered the call, as the Yanks are without some of their best offensive players for much of the year.

The fact that these three players have had such an incredible impact on the team this season was unfathomable at best when the 2013 season began, but as each day goes by, Overbay, Hafner and Wells continue to make great play the norm rather than a surprising and rare occurrence.

Not to mention the contributions from pitchers like David Phelps and Vidal Nuno, who have both stepped into starting roles nicely and gotten the job done.

The question about the Yanks’ payroll plans after this season have been discussed and broken down in every way possible. The original plan of Hal Steinbrenner and the rest of the Bombers’ brass was to decrease payroll to $189 million in order to avoid a stiff luxury tax moving forward.

Some Yankees fans have had no issue believing this new corporate structure running the organization will have no problem accomplishing such a goal, while others believe the Bombers will spend beyond their payroll goal if it becomes necessary in order to add the players needed to succeed.

Meanwhile, there have been others who simply can’t believe that the Yanks are capable of such a “responsible” means of spending money. I can’t say I blame that sect of fans, but as this year’s version of the Yankees continues to play well and remains atop the standings, it’s becoming far less likely the Bombers abandon their financial plans.

If the “replacements” the Yanks are using this season prove anything, it’s that spending a boatload of money on players isn’t exactly needed in order to get production. You just have to find the right pieces to put in place in order to make it happen.

This very real and unexpected success New York is having without its best team on the field will only further cement the team’s plans to go ahead and achieve the payroll target for 2014.

Clearly, this team doesn’t need to spend into the $200 million range and further shoot itself in the foot money-wise to win. All it takes is good team building and, of course, a little bit of luck.

Sure, there is still plenty of time for the season to turn around and go south, but that still hasn’t happened yet, and as long as it doesn’t, the Yankees brass will have all the ammunition it needs to convince the pinstriped masses that a lower payroll doesn’t mean the team will stop winning.

Besides, even at $189 million, the Yanks will have plenty of great players left on the team, and should injuries occur, general manager Brian Cashman has proven time and time again that he can fill the void when needed—and he’s done so with amazing success.

So, with that being said, as long as this Yankees team continues to win without its best taking the field on a daily basis, that will only serve to drive the organization to reach its $189 million goal by 2014.

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New York Yankees: Why 2013 Season Is Different from Any Other for Bombers Fans

The New York Yankees faced very different prospects than they are normally used to when the 2013 season began, but in the face of adversity, this year’s version of the Bronx Bombers has passed this special test with flying colors.

At the start of this season, the Yanks had about $100 million on the disabled list in the names of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter, all with varying injuries and return dates no earlier than May.

Baseball pundits and fans of the sport overall doomed the Yankees to be an 85-win team at best with ESPN’s Buster Olney and Jayson Stark going as far as to say that the Yanks would finish in last place in the American League East (per Steve Melewski of

That prediction of this veteran team seemed a little strange at best when first stated by Olney and Stark, but now, it looks downright ridiculous as the Bombers have far exceeded the expectations of outsiders and even some of the more negative fans of the team.

Coming into Tuesday’s action, the Yankees are 24-14 and are one game up on the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East and just 0.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in Major League Baseball. Again, it’s still early, but these results thus far are stunning for many.

I cannot say I’m as stunned as most experts and fans are because despite all the injuries to the Yanks’ big bats, I knew New York had a solid pitching staff all around to keep it afloat until the big guns came back.

So while the offense is an uncharacteristic 14th in runs scored in MLB this season, the Yanks’ team ERA is an impressive 3.49, which is good enough for sixth in the league.

Speaking of offense: The Bombers have gotten immense contributions from guys general manager Brian Cashman picked off the scrap heap, namely Vernon Wells (nine homers, 22 RBI, .299 average), Travis Hafner (six homers, 18 RBI, .260 average) and Lyle Overbay (six homers, 22 RBI, .252 average).

When looking at Wells’ numbers specifically, they are simply astonishing to say the least.

After being driven out of Los Angeles to make room in the Angels‘ crowded outfield, Wells has the same number of home runs as Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols combined, and he sports a far better average than either of those two sluggers (.212 and .234, respectively).

Wells has also driven in more runs than Pujols or Hamilton separately, and that’s a stat that could’ve helped the Angels, who are ranked 17th in the league in runs scored.

That is a remarkable turn of events this season for a player who was thought to be finished and was believed to be a serviceable outfielder at best.

Combined, not only are the Yanks getting great production out of the three players mentioned above; Overbay, Wells and Hafner are also hitting in the clutch, which is something the Yanks have had a problem with in recent years, both in the regular season and playoffs from some of their best hitters.

It’s clear the doubts about this year’s roster were a bit overblown, or in some cases very overblown. There were plenty of Yankees fans out there who knew this team had the pitching to weather the storm, but not even those fans with more faith in the roster thought this team would actually be the storm.

No matter what anyone says, this season is different because for once the “Evil Empire” was the underdog with a seemingly lackluster roster that was getting next to no respect from anyone. This is a very new role the Yankees are playing, and they are thriving in it to the fullest extent.

That will enable Yankees fans to gloat about how they are overachieving, which is normally impossible thanks to the incredible amount of money this team spends on players each and every season.

That’s right, gloat away, Yankees fans. This may be one of the few times in your lifetime you get the chance to do so, at least as long as this roster continues to be successful this season.

As the season moves along, tough decisions will have to be made about who will play once the bigger names on the Yankees come back, but when they do, the Yanks will no doubt have the deepest team in the majors.

That’s quite the contrast from the start of the season when it was thought the Yanks didn’t have enough offense to get the job done.

The only question that will remain is if the return of Grandy, A-Rod, Jeter and Texeira will have a negative impact on the overall winning chemistry of this team. That remains to be seen, but with a great shot in the arm coming in the next few months with players returning, I’m sure the Yanks as a whole don’t mind finding out if it will.

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MLB Spring Training 2013 Schedule: When to Watch Last Season’s Playoff Rematches

Major League Baseball’s 2012 postseason led to some incredibly exciting October baseball and this year’s spring training will give us a chance to see some rematches from those series.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals one-upped each other in the comeback department en route to a memorable National League Division Series.

The San Francisco Giants started their improbable World Series-winning run by staging a comeback of their own against the Cincinnati Reds to make history in the other National League Division Series.

In the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers didn’t provide as much offense as expected, but there were still some great moments to point to for both sides.

Let’s take a look back at each of these playoff series from last season and when you can catch the rematches during spring training.

The full 2013 spring training schedule can be found on


St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals: Friday, Mar. 8, at 1:05 p.m. ET

The Cardinals and Nationals met in what was an epic NLCS that ended with St. Louis emerging victorious over Washington, three games to two.

St. Louis had Washington on the brink of elimination after the first three games, but the Nationals showed some heart by pushing the series to a fifth game. However, it was in that Game 5 that the Cards proved they had slightly more heart than their opponent.

Trailing 6-0 at one point, the Cards made an incredible comeback to make it 7-5 going into the ninth inning. It was then that St. Louis was down to their final strike twice while still down by two runs, but were able to claw its way back to tie the game and eventually take a two-run lead going into the bottom of the inning.

Jason Motte would take the mound for his second inning and ultimately close out the series.

The never say die attitude of both of these squads was quite impressive during the 2012 postseason and that made for one of the more exciting series. Granted, spring training baseball won’t allow for that type of excitement, but it’ll still be interesting to see these two squads match up and put some of their best players on the field.


San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds: Wednesday, Mar. 13, at 4:05 p.m. ET

If you think the Giants had an easy road to the World Series, think again. Not only did they make a historic comeback against the Reds in the NLDS, but they also had to recover from a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals to get to the World Series.

If you look up the definition of heart, it’s likely you’ll see a picture of the 2012 Giants next to it. After losing the first two games of the NLDS at home, the Giants were faced with the impossible task of winning three consecutive road games in order to advance.

Incredibly enough, San Fran did just that in its series with Cincinnati. In Game 5, the Giants jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Reds after a big fifth inning at the dish, and it was a lead they would never relinquish.

The road comeback was the first of its kind in MLB history. No team had ever lost the first two games of the LDS at home and went on to win the final three on the road.

I’m sure the Reds are not happy about the Giants making them a trivia question answer and their first chance to get some payback will be during spring training, although anything short of a playoff series victory over San Francisco at this point will still leave Cincy falling very short.


New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers: Saturday, Mar. 23, at 1:05 p.m. ET

The ALCS was a major disappointment last season after the Yanks’ bats didn’t show up a lick in this series. The Tigers went on to sweep the series, 4-0.

After scoring four runs in Game 1, New York would score just two more runs the rest of the way in total. The Bronx Bombers weren’t bombing anything and made the Tigers pitching staff look like they cloned Sandy Koufax four times.

In fact, the Yanks were eliminated by Max Scherzer, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Game 4 in what was a sensational performance to close out the series.

The series wasn’t without a little excitement, however. Game 1 of the ALCS saw the Yanks climb back from a four-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth that was capped off in a heroic fashion by a Raul Ibanez two-run bomb.

That was the lone highlight for New York in this series and Detroit brushed it off without incident to go on and win the American League without so much as a whimper from the Yankees.

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2013 MLB Predictions: Seasoned Veterans Who Will Have Major Impact

In Major League Baseball, veterans are always a key component to the success of a team, but there are some elder statesman who will have a major role for their respective clubs in 2013.

Guys like Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees and R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays will each be of vital importance to their respective team’s pitching staffs. Meanwhile, A.J. Pierzynski will have to make an impact on both sides of the ball for the Texas Rangers.

Age is just a number and these players certainly proved that with great statistics during the 2012 season.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these older vets and how they will benefit their teams in 2013.


Andy Pettitte, Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees (Age: 40)

When Pettitte takes the mound in April, he will be starting his 18th Major League season and is a huge piece of the Yanks’ starting rotation in 2013.

Pettitte unexpectedly returned to baseball last season and was rock solid before missing most of the season due to injury. When he was on the mound, Pettitte was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA that proved he still has what it takes to be a force in the MLB.

On top of that, Pettitte was great for the Bombers in the postseason, giving them three good starters in October baseball.

This season, the 40-year-old will be New York’s No. 3 starter behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. With the question marks behind him in the Yanks’ starting five, Pettitte must remain at top form during the 2013 season if his team is to have success in the regular and postseason.


A.J. Pierzynski, Catcher, Texas Rangers (Age: 36)

Now that the Rangers have lost slugger Josh Hamilton to free agency, this team has a ton of offense to replace in 2013.

Although Pierzynski won’t do it all by himself, his numbers from 2012 prove he can make a big impact in that regard. The 36-year-old hit 27 homers and drove in 77 runs while sporting a .278 batting average at the plate.

Behind the plate, Pierzynski will be tasked with helping bring the Rangers’ starting staff out of the dumps from a season ago. Texas’ rotation finished with a 4.30 ERA, which was good enough for No. 20 in the league.

So, not only will Pierzynski’s bat be needed in Texas, but he also must call good games and aid in the development of the younger arms in order to improve the Rangers pitching overall.


R.A. Dickey, Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 38)

After winning the National League Cy Young award in 2012 as a member of the New York Mets, Dickey was shipped off to Toronto and is one of many new additions to the roster.

Dickey’s 2012 campaign was well worth the honor. The 38-year-old was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and that was with a lackluster roster supporting him in New York.

In 2013, Dickey will have a much better team around him with a great pitching staff and a dangerous lineup as well. That should help Dickey come close to his numbers from last season as extra run support should lead to plenty of games won.

The only thing that’s in doubt is if his success in the National League East will translate to the offensively potent American League East. Dickey will be facing much stiffer competition and the Blue Jays will need him to answer the bell if they hope to reign supreme in one of the most competitive divisions in the majors.

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MLB Spring Training 2013 Schedule: Matchups Fans Must Watch

The 2013 Major League Baseball spring training schedule has been released and while it might not seem important to watch the MLB‘s preseason, that doesn’t change the fact that there are some must-see matchups.

Some of these matchups will feature players in new places who are going up against their old mates, as well as some major new additions to teams that plan on making a push for the postseason in 2013.

Let’s take a look at some exciting games to look forward to this spring.

The full 2013 spring training schedule can be found on


Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers: Sunday, Feb. 23, at 1:05 p.m. ET

This will be the second game of the spring for the reigning American League champion Tigers, and it will also be the first chance we get to see the plethora of new names on the Blue Jays’ roster.

Toronto was the beneficiary of the latest firesale from the Florida/Miami Marlins organiztion when they acquired Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio during the offseason.

The addition of these players has created quite the buzz around the Blue Jays for the 2013 season, and that’s before I even mention Melky Cabrera, who was set to win the National League batting title last season before testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Also potentially participating in this game will be Miguel Cabrera, last year’s triple crown winner, and the return of Victor Martinez after he missed the entire 2012 season.


New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Sunday, Mar. 3, at 1:35 p.m. ET

The 2013 season will be yet another chapter in the most heated rivalry in sports between the Yankees and Red Sox.

This year has a little extra fire added to the mix as former Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis will join the Yankees after signing a one-year deal during the offseason.

Youk was traded out of Beantown to the Chicago White Sox last season.

Granted, spring training lineups are a little unpredictable, but this game could be the first chance we have to see a cleanly-shaven Youk going up against his former mates.

Sadly, we likely won’t be seeing any head hunting or charging the mound, but it will still be weird to see Youkilis playing against the Red Sox—especially while wearing the pinstripes.


Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels: Thursday, Mar. 21, at 9:05 p.m. ET

Considering this matchup is so late in the spring training schedule, there’s a good chance many of the stars on each team will be in the lineup.

So that means we will likely have an opportunity to see the Angels’ star-studded lineup that will include Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.

Perhaps a bigger storyline in this spring contest is the return of Hamilton to face his former team, the Rangers.

Hamilton left the Rangers this offseason for an incredibly lucrative deal with the Angels and that has left many Rangers fans upset with the slugger. To make matters worse, Hamilton had some disparaging comments against Rangers fans recently (per Richard Durrett of

Clearly, this is no longer just a heartfelt return to play his former team and is likely the first chapter in a long season of hearing boos whenever he goes to play in Texas.

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How Alex Rodriguez’s Doctor Added Bizarre Chapter to His New York Yankees Career

In what is another bizarre chapter in the career of Alex Rodriguez as a member of the New York Yankees, the controversial slugger may have once again soiled his image while donning the pinstripes.

The Yankees didn’t expect to hear much from A-Rod until midseason—with a few injury updates mixed in between—but a recent report by Christian Red of the New York Daily News couldn’t make any more noise at a more quiet time in the offseason.

Red’s report details how A-Rod’s doctor divulged far too much information on the Yankees star’s hip injury that he is set to have surgery on.

Here are the details:

In the report, [Dr. Bryan] Kelly – the Hospital for Special Surgery physician who is scheduled to perform Rodriguez’s left hip surgery this month – said Rodriguez’s left hip muscles “just shut down” during the Yankees’ 2012 playoff run, one in which the $275 million third baseman batted .120 (3-for-25) through two playoff rounds and struck out 12 times.

Adding to this unexpected release of information, the same doctor has proclaimed that A-Rod’s injury issues over the past few seasons are in no way related to performance-enhancing drug use, which Rodriguez has admitted to using in the past.

Even more surprising, Kelly made a blunt assessment in the report that Rodriguez’s hip problems (he had surgery on his right hip in 2009) are unrelated to A-Rod’s admitted past use of performance-enhancing drugs. In a 2009 press conference, Rodriguez told reporters he used PEDs from 2001-03, when he played for the Rangers. He is also reported to have tested positive for PEDs in Major League Baseball’s 2003 survey testing year.

“The easiest question anyone can ask is if this is related to steroid use. I can say with 100 percent certainty this is not a steroid injury at all,” Kelly said in the report, referring to Rodriguez’s hip injuries. “This is a mechanical injury, and mechanics are something you are born with.”

While you might just take the word of Dr. Kelly in regard to A-Rod’s injury, two elements in Red’s Daily News report directly contradict what the doctor is saying.

The first comes from the beloved “source”:

“Kelly was clearly lured in by Alex, who told (Kelly) to talk,” said the source. The source added that the team is trying to arrange a conference call or press conference with Kelly and reporters.

“Sources” aren’t always the most reliable forms of information, but this “source” has some backing from a different, more reliable source, according to Red’s report:

Dr. Lewis Maharam, the past president of the New York chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, told The News that he did not understand how Kelly could be “absolute” in his remarks about PEDs.

“I don’t understand how Dr. Kelly can be absolute that steroids didn’t cause the injury,” said Maharam. “I think without seeing (Rodriguez), that is likely, given his admission of steroid use – that steroid/HGH use caused the hip lesions due the increased strength they produced in surrounding muscle tissues that naturally increase the torque on the hip joint.”

Unraveling this mess won’t be easy, but that’s just another frustrating story in the book of Rodriguez’s time in the Bronx.

So, did A-Rod truly put his doctor up to speaking on his behalf? It does seem a bit far-fetched when looked at on the surface, but when digging a little deeper, it certainly looks plausible.

Nobody in Yankees history, and quite possibly the history of sports, has experienced the type of nonstop scrutiny A-Rod has received. Early success in his career and a ginormous contract are obvious contributing factors of this.

So, when Rodriguez struggles to produce or sits long periods of time due to injury, fans and analysts alike jump all over him as being a complete waste and burden on the team, whether directly or indirectly.

It might not seem fair, but it comes with the territory of signing a 10-year, $275 million contract in the Big Apple.

There’s nothing A-Rod would love more than to justify his current injuries as nothing more than a “mechanical” issue, as opposed to one that was self-inflicted or exasperated by the use of PEDs. And what better way to do that than to have a prominent doctor confirm such a thought.

But why would the doctor risk his own image just to help A-Rod’s? That’s where this whole scenario becomes even more cloudy.

Is Rodriguez simply that charming to convince a doctor to possibly stain his own reputation? 

Those are just a few of the questions that Dr. Kelly’s comments have birthed.

Whatever the answer may be, this is just another distraction A-Rod has created for the Yankees. Now, general manager Brian Cashman will have to stave off questions from the media about this potential coverup.

Or “Hip-Gate,” if you prefer.

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Johnny Cueto Injury: Reds Pitcher Leaves Game vs. Giants in 1st Inning

Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto left Game 1 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants with what appeared to be a back injury.

Amy Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area gave more specifics on the injury.

Cueto left the game in the first inning with Marco Scutaro at the plate and having recorded only one out.

It isn’t known for sure, but Cueto did have to start and stop his delivery just a few pitches before leaving the game as a result of Angel Pagan receiving a timeout by the home plate umpire.

This is a huge blow for the Reds. As the team’s ace, Cueto sported a 19-9 record with a 2.78 ERA this season. If he misses an extended amount of time, the Reds will have to beat the Giants and potential future opponents without their ace.

More importantly, Cincy can no longer match San Fran’s ace, Matt Cain. But back spasms are never a serious injury and Cueto has a very realistic shot of returning in this series. However, the torque of Cueto’s delivery could quite possibly keep him out longer than most pitchers who suffer the same injury.

That, of course, will all depend upon how serious the injury actually is.

Manager Dusty Baker could have relied on his bullpen to finish this game, but he was wise not to do so. Mat Latos came into the game in the third inning, replacing Sam LeCure, who has been a reliable reliever for the Reds this season.

LeCure did a nice job, throwing 1.2 innings of scoreless ball for Cincinnati, handing Latos a tie.

Latos was scheduled to pitch in Game 3 of the NLDS on Tuesday, but you can scratch that now. Latos will be pitching on short rest as he last threw on October 2, going five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Stick with Bleacher Report for all the latest on Cueto’s injury.

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Chipper Jones: Braves Star’s Last Game Was a Nightmare

Chipper Jones has played his last game for the Atlanta Braves, but there’s no doubt his career finale went about as badly as possible.

A stand-up player like Jones deserved the perfect send-off, but as we all know, that doesn’t always happen.

On the brighter side, Jones is leaving the game not having hit a wall at the age of 40. Jones hit .287 with 14 homers and 62 RBI, making it clear that he could still contribute in a big way if he chose to continue his career.

But despite all that, Jones’ last game was a nightmare and here’s why.


Infield Fly Rule-Gate

The 2012 National League Wild Card game won’t be remembered as Jones’ last game, but rather the game the umpires got it wrong with a controversial call.

Andrelton Simmons’ pop up to short left field looked like a routine play, but instead the ball found its way to the grass between St. Louis Cardinals shortstop, Pete Kozma, and left fielder, Matt Holliday.

The left field umpire gave a late signal for an infield fly, effectively crushing the Braves’ eighth inning rally. The call should have never been made, since the umpire was late to make his judgement and Kozma didn’t go after the ball with ordinary effort.

A botched call and the madness that ensued was the biggest story of the game and completely overshadowed Jones’ last game, which is a result he didn’t deserve.


Idiot Fans

You would think that all Braves fans would have the utmost respect for Jones and all he’s done during his career in Atlanta. However, that thought process was proven wrong after some fans began throwing bottles, and anything else they could find, on the field.

Let me be clear: The idiots are the ones who threw things on the field.  That doesn’t mean all Braves fans are idiots, nor does it mean that all Braves fans don’t respect Jones.

When the controversial infield fly call was made, fans began throwing things onto the field, which is unacceptable in any instance. But it didn’t stop there, as fans threw even more things onto the field once the game was over.

This forced both teams off the field in a hurry and made it dangerous for even Jones to be honored on the field after the game.

It was no doubt one of the ugliest moments in the history of the Braves’ franchise, and to make matters worse, it happened during Jones’ last game.

The behavior of the fans who threw things on the field was the second biggest story of this game, which is an unfortunate fact that pushed Jones’ story even further back behind the garbage.


Bad Game

Jones didn’t have such a great game against the Cards, as the Braves were eliminated from the playoffs.

The third baseman went 1-for-5, with a lowly infield single that should have been the last out of the game and ended Jones’ career right then and there.

On top of that, Jones committed a huge error in the fourth inning that should have been a double play, but instead opened the door for a three-run inning for St. Louis that eradicated the Braves early lead.

Per staff, Jones placed the blame on himself for the loss.

“Ultimately, I feel I’m the one to blame,” Jones said. “That should have been a tailor-made double play.”

It’s bad enough that Jones had a poor game at the plate, but it makes it even worse that his great career ended with Jones placing the blame on himself for the team’s season-ending loss. That’s a fact that Jones will have to live with for the rest of his life, whether we all agree with him or not.

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Oakland A’s vs. Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander Will Dominate in Game 1

Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander will start Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics and that leaves no hope the A’s will take the first game of this series.

Verlander had another sensational year for Detroit in 2012. The right-hander was 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA and 239 strikeouts.

Oakland will have its hands full in this game. Sporting one of the youngest teams in the MLB, the A’s roster doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in big games, so most likely this is the most important game of the careers for the majority of the roster.

Dealing with that kind of pressure will make this a tough game to win in and of itself, let alone facing a stud like Verlander.

But beyond that, Verlander’s past success against the Athletics this season is reason enough for manager Bob Melvin to be concerned about his team’s chances in Game 1.

This season, Verlander has flat out dominated the A’s lineup, posting a 2-0 record and miniscule ERA of 0.69.

To make matters worse for Oakland, Verlander had his best month of the season in September with a 5-1 record and an ERA of 1.93. Clearly Verlander is pitching at his best and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time for the Tigers.

Stacking the deck against Oakland even more, the team’s approach at the plate plays right into the hands of Verlander.

Oakland had more strikeouts as a team than any other squad in Major League Baseball this season with 1,387, and that was 22 more than the next closest team, the lowly Houston Astros.

It just so happens that strikeouts are Verlander’s forte as the 29-year-old’s 239 strikeouts in 2012 led all of baseball.

The A’s are no doubt a talented team, but they are about to run into a buzzsaw with Verlander on the mound, and that will guarantee a Game 1 victory for the Tigers.

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