Miguel Cairo

Now batting cleanup for the Reds, Miguel Cairo

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It was pretty much a given that Scott Rolen would get Thursday off after playing all 19 innings in the Reds’ loss to the Phillies on Wednesday, so it was no surprise to see Miguel Cairo in the lineup for the series finale.  What did turn some heads was that the 37-year-old Cairo not only filled in for Rolen defensively, but he took his spot in the batting order and hit cleanup for just the second time in his career.

And it turned out OK.

Cairo, who had started just one game in two weeks, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored in the 10-4 loss to the Phillies.  He had as many extra-base hits today as he did in his previous 70 at-bats this season.

Cairo’s other appearance in the cleanup spot came eight years ago for the Cardinals in a 2-1 loss to the Astros.  Coincidently, he hit one spot ahead of Rolen in that game.  With Albert Pujols out due to a sore hamstring and Jim Edmonds nursing a calf injury, manager Tony La Russa opted to bat Orlando Palmeiro third and Cairo fourth.

Of course, Cairo didn’t quite measure up to his counterpart, Lance Berkman, in that one.   Nor could he have been expected to match bombs with Ryan Howard today.  Cairo has averaged a homer every 110 at-bats during his career, and his career high for homers is six, established with the Yankees in 2004.  Howard homers once every 13 at-bats.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system. Who has the worst?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06:  General manager Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks laughs on the field before the Opening Day MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on April 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.

The Blue Jays will . . . not be blue some days next year

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The Toronto Blue Jays, like a lot of teams, will wear an alternate jersey next year. It’ll be for Sunday home games. They call it their “Canadiana,” uniforms. Which, hey, let’s hear it for national pride.

(question to Canada: my grandmother and my three of my four maternal great-grandparents were Canadian. Does that give me any rights to emigrate? You know, just in case? No reason for asking that today. Just curious!).

Anyway, these are the uniforms:

More like RED Jays, am I right?

OK, I am not going to leave this country. I’m going to stay here and fight for what’s right: a Major League Baseball-wide ban on all red alternate jerseys for anyone except the Cincinnati Reds, who make theirs work somehow. All of the rest of them look terrible.

Oh, Canada indeed.