The Voice of the Yankees retires

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Bob Sheppard hasn’t announced games at Yankee Stadium since 2007, but he had not made his retirement official until today:

Bob Sheppard served more than 50 seasons as the “Voice of Yankee
Stadium,” his clear, concise and correct style proudly providing the
soundtracks of summer for Yankees players from Joe DiMaggio to Derek
Jeter.

One month after celebrating his 99th birthday by watching the
Yankees inch closer to their 27th World Series championship — the
first Fall Classic he missed in the Bronx since 1951 — Sheppard has
decided it is time to officially step down as the club’s public address
announcer.

“I have no plans of coming back,” Sheppard said on Wednesday in
a telephone interview. “Time has passed me by, I think. I had a good
run for it. I enjoyed doing what I did. I don’t think, at my age, I’m
going to suddenly regain the stamina that is really needed if you do
the job and do it well.”

Most people retire when they’re over 30 years younger than Sheppard, so he has more than put in his fair share of work.  Still, he will be missed by Yankees fans and anyone else who fell in love with baseball back when a day at the ballpark was a simple and straightforward affair. No dot races, no rock music pumped in before every at bat and no other sorts of nonsense.  Just the sun, some light organ music and the sounds of the game, chief among them the dulcet tones of a true pro like Sheppard.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

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The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.