Jason Kendall, who was expected to soon begin a rehab assignment in the minors, has instead suffered a major setback with his shoulder and will undergo another surgery.
Manager Ned Yost said the procedure would knock him for the rest of this year and perhaps all of next season, potentially ending Kendall’s career.
Kendall first hoped to return in April after undergoing surgery to repair his rotator cuff last September, but his shoulder never proved strong enough. He resumed hitting last month, and the hope was that he’d begin catching in the minors this month.
The 37-year-old Kendall probably won’t go down without a fight, so even if he is ruled out for next year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him show up in camp with some club in 2013. However, if his shoulder is shot, then he’s not going to be of any use to a major league team. He hasn’t been a decent hitter in five years, and all of the leadership in the world won’t make him worth a roster spot if he’s not going to be a throw out a would-be basestealer now and again.
Kendall, once one of the game’s best catchers with Pirates, is a lifetime .288/.366/.378 hitter with 75 homers and 189 steals in 15 seasons. He ranks fifth all-time with 2,025 games caught.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: