Why are the Yankees scouting Cliff Lee?

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As the trading season gets increasingly nutsy, we’ve seen an explosion of “Team X had a scout at Player Y’s last game!” chatter.  Here’s a fine example of such a thing from Jon Paul Morosi yesterday:

The Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals were among the clubs with a scout in
attendance at Cliff Lee’s start in Detroit
on Sunday afternoon.

It marked the second straight start by Lee that the Yankees scouted.

Rival clubs believe the Yankees are pursuing Lee ahead of the July 31
non-waiver trade deadline, although it’s possible the Yankees are
scouting Lee in preparation for his upcoming free agency.

Yes, it could be that the Yankees, a team without any discernible need in the rotation, feel it necessary to scout one of the most-watched, most well-known pitchers in baseball.

It’s also possible, is it not, that the Yankees had a scout at the Mariners game because they play the freakin’ Mariners this weekend and will likely be facing Cliff Lee on Friday.

Scouts scout. It’s their job. Just because they show up someplace doesn’t mean they’re working in advance of a trade.

Play of the Day: Fan reaches over second deck railing, catches foul ball with her hat

MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 28:  Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a single in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on July 28, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
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Today’s play of the day wasn’t made by a professional athlete. Rather, it was made by a fan in the second deck on the first base side at Miller Park during Thursday afternoon’s game between the Diamondbacks and Brewers.

Phil Gosselin fouled off a 1-1 fastball from Will Smith to the right side. A fan wearing purple — perhaps in support of the D-Backs? — leaned over the railing of the second deck and snagged the ball with her bucket hat.

The Brewers beat the Diamondbacks 6-4. They took three games out of the four-game series. Heading into the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, they’ll host the Pirates for three games.

Royals place Luke Hochevar on the disabled list

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 29: Reliever Luke Hochevar #44 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on June 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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The Royals announced on Thursday evening that reliever Luke Hochevar has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 25) as he’s showing signs of thoracic outlet syndrome, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports. Reliever Brooks Pounders has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha.

Thoracic outlet syndrome, simply put, is the compression of blood vessels and nerves between the neck and the shoulder. As we’ve seen lately, the fix for this often involves surgery to remove the pitcher’s upper rib.

Hochevar, 32, has compiled a 3.86 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings. The right-hander, who can become a free agent after the season if either he or the Royals decline his 2017 option, was a potential trade candidate recently mentioned by Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.