Flores 'back at square one' after Andrews visit

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After spending 12 days in Alabama undergoing physical therapy with Dr. James Andrews the news on Jesus Flores’ surgically repaired shoulder is … well, inconclusive.
Flores returned to Nationals camp sure that he’ll be healthy enough to play at some point this season, but he’s been ruled out for Opening Day and there’s no official timetable for his return. Or as the injured catcher put it: “As soon as I get 100 percent, I’ll be back.”
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Andrews and his team gave Flores treatment, helped with his rehab, and ran tests to determine if he “had experienced further structural damage since” the September surgery.
They “discovered nothing more alarming than some inflammation.” In fact, according to Flores he was told that the injury “is not a big deal” and “everything is fine now.” All of which sounds good, except Kilgore notes that Flores is now “back at square one” in terms of restarting baseball activities and will need to be cleared medically all over again just to begin throwing. In other words, it’s gonna be a while.
Ivan Rodriguez is the Nationals’ starting catcher, with Wil Nieves backing him up.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: