Nationals turning back the clock to 2006 with Mark DeRosa at shortstop

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Remember how Davey Johnson said he doesn’t “give a rat’s ass” if people get upset at him for resting players once the Nationals had the division title all locked up?

Well, he wasn’t kidding.

Tonight against the Phillies he’s starting Mark DeRosa at shortstop, which is noteworthy because DeRosa is 35 years old and last played shortstop in 2008. And even that was for all of one inning.

DeRosa last started a game at shortstop in … 2006.

September 2, 2006 to be exact. He was the Rangers’ starting shortstop in a lineup that also featured Mark Teixeira at first base, Carlos Lee in left field, Hank Blalock at third base, and Gary Matthews Jr. in center field. And they were facing Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.

So yeah, it’s been a while.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.