Bruce Chen commits to Team China for 2013 WBC

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CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Royals left-hander Bruce Chen has agreed to pitch for Team China in the 2013 World Baseball Classic after spending the 2009 WBC with Team Panama.

Chen, who was born in Panama City, Panama but is of Chinese descent, posted a 5.07 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 140/47 K/BB ratio across 191 2/3 innings last season for Kansas City. He’s set to earn $4.5 million in 2013 on the final chapter of a two-year, $9 million free agent deal that was struck in November 2011.

Chen turns 36 years old in June and the next World Baseball Classic won’t take place until 2017, so this was likely the final chance for him to represent the homeland of his grandparents.

China finished 15th out of 16 teams in the inaugural WBC back in 2006 and 11th in 2009.

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: