Yankees send Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann back to Dodgers … for now

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Back in December the Nationals selected Dodgers minor leaguer Jamie Hoffmann with the first pick in the Rule 5 draft and then sent him to the Yankees in a pre-arranged deal for Brian Bruney.
Hoffmann was thought to be a near-lock for a spot on New York’s bench, but apparently the Yankees decided against keeping him on the 25-man roster all season (per the Rule 5 … well, rules) and sent him back to the Dodgers this afternoon.
Hoffmann had to clear waivers before becoming Los Angeles’ property again, which means no other teams were willing to keep him in the majors all season. However, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News the Yankees may be trying to work out a second deal for Hoffmann outside of the Rule 5 parameters that would allow them to send him to Triple-A.
Feinsand notes “whispers in recent weeks about the Yankees sending either Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre to Los Angeles for Hoffmann.” Not a bad deal for the Dodgers, who essentially gave up Hoffmann for nothing by failing to protect him with a 40-man roster spot just a few months ago. Meanwhile, it looks more and more likely that the Yankees’ final bench spot will go to veteran Marcus Thames, who could end up paired with Brett Gardner as a platoon starter against left-handed pitching.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.