The Captain’s back: Derek Jeter to be activated today

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Derek Jeter is … go!

Ken Rosenthal reports that Derek Jeter will rejoin the New York Yankees this afternoon and is expected to be in their lineup at either shortstop or designated hitter for today’s day game against the Royals.

This is ahead of schedule and, in many ways, contrary to the comments of Yankees officials regarding Jeter’s timetable. Just two day ago Joe Girardi said he’d like to see Jeter play back-to-back games at shortstop before being activated. He played short last night after a day off. Now it’s back to the bigs.

It’s possible the Yankees simply liked what they saw from Jeter, physically speaking and would rather have him roll up miles on the odometer in games that count rather than games that don’t. His performance on rehab wasn’t great — 1 for 9 with four walks and some shaky defense — but the point of rehab isn’t to have nice box scores. It’s to determine whether or not the player is ready to play in games.

Maybe it’s be a different story if the Yankees were playing well or had anyone who could actually hit a little bit, but it’s dire times for New York. And it’s awful hard to say that the Yankees aren’t better off with even a diminished Derek Jeter.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.