The Yankees need a healthy CC Sabathia if they hope to make a legitimate run at the World Series, but Hiroki Kuroda continues to prove that he’s no slouch, either.
Kuroda limited the Rangers to just two hits in a complete game 3-0 win tonight at Yankee Stadium. It was his fourth career shutout and his second as a member of the Yankees. He previously threw a rain-shortened, seven-inning shutout against the Blue Jays on July 18.
Kuroda actually had a no-hitter going until Elvis Andrus reached on a leadoff single in the top of the seventh inning. The game remained scoreless until Nick Swisher connected for a two-run homer against Alexi Ogando with one out in the bottom of the seventh. It was immediately followed by a solo shot from Mark Teixeira. That was more than enough support for Kuroda on this night.
Kuroda ended up striking out five and walking two en route to improving to 11-8 on the year. The 37-year-old right-hander struggled early on in the season, but now has an excellent 3.06 ERA and 121/38 K/BB ratio over 159 innings.
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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.