There was some random speculation that Joe Girardi would sit Derek Jeter in tonight’s game against the Indians. Partially to rest him but — tin foil hats on please — also to make sure that he doesn’t get his 3000th hit on the road by going 4 for 4 or better.
Stop that. It could happen. He’s done it twice this year.
Anyway, Girardi has thrown caution to the wind and has Jeter in tonight’s lineup. Which, to be honest, I’m happy to see. Manipulating the playing time in order to ensure that a milestone is reached in front of the home crowd is weak sauce. I mean, even though everyone hates Bowie Kuhn and everyone loves Hank Aaron, I’m happy that Kuhn made the Braves play him on the road in early 1974. The game is greater than the records.
Unless Girardi and the Yankees seriously doubt Jeter’s ability to get four hits in an entire weekend series before the All-Star break, and are hoping he gets one or two tonight an in effort to make the home milestone more likely. The Yankees do open up the second half on an eight game road trip. How awkward would it be if, after a day off today, Jeter couldn’t get four hits in the four-game series against the Rays this weekend?
OK, I’ll stop now. This is turning into a Mobius strip or an M.C. Escher Infinite Staircase of a post. All about Jeter and 3000 hits.
I probably need to get out more.
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.