Link-O-Rama: Halladay set for Monday return

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* Erika Gilbert of MLB.com reports
that Roy Halladay is on track to return from his groin injury to start
Monday against the Rays. Halladay threw a bullpen session yesterday,
with manager Cito Gaston saying afterward that “he felt good.”

Halladay hasn’t pitched since June 12, yet still leads the league in
wins and ranks fourth in innings. He’s eligible to come off the
disabled list Sunday, but Gaston noted that the Blue Jays want to “give
him another day’s rest.”

* Tim Lincecum had some Giants fans concerned when he began the season with back-to-back poor outings, but after last night’s complete-game victory
against the A’s the NL’s reigning Cy Young winner is now 7-1 with a
2.14 ERA and 114/22 K/BB ratio in 96.2 innings spread over his last 13
starts. He leads the league in innings and strikeouts while ranking
fourth in ERA.

* Barack Obama has signed on to throw out the ceremonial first pitch
at the All-Star game in St. Louis next week, following in the footsteps
of John F. Kennedy., Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. And then he’ll be
rooting for an American League win.

Video: Phillies rookies dance to “Greased Lightning”

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As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.

The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.

Video with sound is not currently allowed to be embedded, so click here for that.

As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”

The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:

Video: Aaron Judge hits 47th, 48th homers, now one shy of tying Mark McGwire’s rookie record

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.

After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.