Jose Contreras’ rehab assignment is off to a rough start

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Jose Contreras took a big step in his recovery from elbow surgery yesterday when he appeared in a minor-league game, but his Single-A outing lasted only 11 pitches and was full of control problems.

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Contreras threw four strikes and seven balls, including two wild pitches, and allowed three runs while recording just one out. In other words, he was a mess.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. predictably downplayed the ugly outing, saying:

He’s perfectly fine. He’s going through the process of a rehab. Somebody booted a ground ball behind him that was ruled a hit and his location wasn’t great, but he’s perfectly fine physically. He had poor location and got beat up, but that’s why he’s rehabbing.

Fair enough, and certainly Contreras will have plenty of time to get on track before the Phillies consider activating him from the disabled list, but the 40-year-old right-hander also got knocked around for a 19.29 ERA in spring training. Right now he’s a $2.5 million question mark.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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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: