Twins right fielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer had arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after they were swept out of the playoffs by the Yankees and now starters Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn are both going under the knife as well.
Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Blackburn underwent minor elbow surgery last week and Baker is slated to have a similar surgery tomorrow. Blackburn “had a bone spur and other loose particles removed but said there was no damage to any ligaments.”
Baker missed starts down the stretch with elbow pain and was absent from the Twins’ playoff rotation, but his surgery is also expected to be of the “cleanup” variety.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)