Damon: "The Yankees haven't made an offer"

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Johnny Damon, walking back the rumors from the weekend:

“My friends and family are calling to tell me about this offer and what
I want and it’s all wrong.  The Yankees
haven’t made an offer and I haven’t told them what I want. Everything
else is not true. Two years, four years, all that happens when Scott talks to the
Yankees. That comes later but we haven’t had any talks
at all. I don’t know where all this stuff came from.”

Maybe it’s lawyerly withdrawal setting in, but I think that this statement is deviously consistent with what was reported over the weekend.  Let’s parse:

“The Yankees haven’t made an offer . . .”  Well, that doesn’t contradict any of the business from over the weekend, because according to the previous report, Boras told them not to bother.

“I haven’t told them what I want.”  I guess there are a couple of cute ways to handle this: (a) “I haven’t told them what I, you know, really want, I just told them the lowest possible place they had best start the bidding; or (b) “I haven’t told them what I want, my agent has.”

Yes, I know I’m reading way too much into those statements. Johnny Damon is a number of wonderful things, but a master of obfuscatory syntax is probably not one of them. And it’s not like this is a legal proceeding. There’s no need to stretch to reconcile contradictory reports. If Damon or his agent say one thing on one day and another thing on another, no one is really gonna squawk.

No, in reality this is probably just a case of Damon playing good cop to Scott Boras’ bad cop in an effort to counteract the overwhelmingly negative response to his reported demands and to set it up nicely for him to accept the Yankees’ two-year offer without having to admit that he caved in the face of the team’s superior leverage.

But hey, we’re entering the slowest time of the entire annual baseball news cycle, so this sort of flyspecking is to be expected.

Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

Jacoby Ellsbury
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press
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We’ve got some potential craziness building in the American League Wild Card race with one day left in the regular season.

After dropping both halves of a doubleheader on Saturday in Baltimore, the Yankees are now just one game up for the first spot — hosting duties. Houston, currently in the second spot, won again Saturday in Arizona behind two Colby Rasmus homers and a very good start from Collin McHugh. Anaheim won Saturday in Arlington, Texas in maybe the wildest game of the year to stay one game back of the ‘Stros.

This also touches the still-undecided American League West, where the Rangers only have a one-game lead on the Astros and will face a fired-up Angels team on Sunday afternoon. By design, the start times for all these games that matter are the same: 3:05 p.m. ET. Only the Cardinals and Braves will play at a different time (due to Saturday’s rainout).

Buckle up, people. Get your popcorn ready. All that.

Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …

Yankees 2, Orioles 1 (Game 1)

Royals 5, Twins 1

Angels 11, Rangers 10

Nationals 3, Mets 1 (Game 1)

Rockies 2, Giants 3

Marlins 7, Phillies 6 (Game 1)

Blue Jays 3, Rays 4

Reds 3, Pirates 1

Yankees 3, Orioles 4 (Game 2)

Red Sox 0, Indians 2

Cubs 1, Brewers 0

Nationals 2, Mets 0 (Game 2)

Marlins 5, Phillies 2 (Game 2)

Astros 6, Diamondbacks 2

Padres 1, Dodgers 2


Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.