Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Adam LaRoche all had surgery

1 Comment

The Nationals must have received the group discount.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com passes along word that Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and Adam LaRoche all underwent surgery in recent days. Fortunately for the Nationals, all of them appear to be minor.

Strasburg had surgery yesterday to remove bone chips from his right elbow. The 25-year-old is expected to resume throwing in 4-6 weeks, so assuming no setbacks, he should be fine for the start of spring training. He posted a 3.00 ERA and 191/56 K/BB ratio over a career-high 183 innings this season and managed to finish out the year despite a bout of forearm tightness in early September. This is the second elbow surgery of his career, as he required Tommy John surgery during his rookie season in 2010.

Harper underwent surgery Wednesday to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee, which he injured crashing into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. He’ll also require 4-6 weeks of recovery time, so it shouldn’t have an impact on his readiness for 2014. The 21-year-old outfielder batted .274/.368/.486 with 20 home runs, 58 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 118 games this year.

LaRoche had surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. Like Strasburg and Harper, he’ll need 4-6 weeks of recovery time. The 33-year-old first baseman hit .237 with 20 home runs and a career-low .735 OPS in 152 games this season and will enter 2014 in the final year of a two-year, $24 million contract.

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

Getty Images
11 Comments

The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.