Papi says AL 'can't wait to kick some you-know-what'

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Boston Red Sox slugger — and newly-crowned Home Run Derby champion David Ortiz held court shortly after taking batting practice today, and had some interesting things to say, including a grand proclamation for tonight’s All-Star game: yet more dominance for the American League.

“Oh definitely (the AL will win),” he said. “No question. It’s on, baby. We’ve got some guys going crazy in the clubhouse, can’t wait to kick some you-know-what.”

Ortiz didn’t seem too scared of NL starter Ubaldo Jimenez, either, but not just because the Red Sox roughed up Jimenez this season.

“Well let me tell you, he’s only going to go two innings right?” he said. “Not too much to worry about. Jimenez, he’s got to be one of the best pitchers in the game, no question. But he’ll pitch his two innings and pack it. Take it to the house.”

I assume, Papi knows that the NL bullpen has some decent pitchers, but we’ll give him a pass simply for sheer entertainment value.

Ortiz also talked about the passing of George Steinbrenner, which has obviously dominated talk here. His own team will hold a moment of silence on Thursday in honor of The Boss, and Ortiz made it clear that Steinbrenner’s impact overshadows any kind of Yankees-Red Sox hatred.

“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Steinbrenner. This is a time where you don’t even worry about the rivalry or who you play for,” he said. “This is a guy who has done a lot for baseball, has done a lot of good things for a lot of people in general. In a situation like this, we need to give a lot of respect to him and his family, and let his family know that we are all thinking about him.”

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Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.