Joe Girardi contemplates a change in uniform number

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Girardi famously selected number 27 to serve as championship inspiration when he was hired last year. Yesterday he said that he may make a move to 28:

That’s something I talked to Brian Cashman briefly about today. I think I will. I’ve got to talk to Shelley Duncan to see if he allows me to wear it.”

It’s cute that anyone cares what Shelley Duncan thinks in all of this.  More to the point, however, Girardi should probably ask whoever speaks for Sparky Lyle, Spud Chandler, Charlie Keller, Al Leiter, Tommy Byrne, David Justice, Melky Cabrera and Chad Curtis, all of whom have a stronger claim on the number than does Duncan. If the Yankees repeat and Girardi wants to change again, he’ll have to go through Mike Stanton and the estate of Catfish Hunter for number 29.  Willie Randoph checks in at 30 and Dave Winfield at 31.

It’s all a matter of negotiation until he gets to 32. That was Elston Howard, and his number is retired, so there’s probably not a chance of him taking it.  Of course if the Yankees win four more titles before Girardi is done managing he’ll have the juice to demand just about anything he wants. Not that it will matter. If that happens every non Yankee fan in the world will have killed himself by then, and baseball will probably cease to be.

(thanks to Bronx Banter for the historical Yankee uniform numbers).

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.