Mike Pelfrey ahead of schedule in return from Tommy John surgery

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Mike Pelfrey is just 10 months removed from undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery, but he’s throwing without limitations at Twins camp and told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he expects to be ready for Opening Day:

I’m going to be ready. I guess it’s hard for some people to believe maybe. But I feel great.

Pelfrey has apparently gotten Dr. James Andrews’ blessing to speed up the typical recovery timetable, although obviously he still has some hurdles to clear between now and April.

Pelfrey went under the knife in May of last year, ending a streak of four consecutive seasons in which he started at least 30 games and threw at least 180 innings for the Mets. He signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Twins, who desperately need rotation help after ranking dead last among AL teams in starter ERA.

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: