According to the Associated Press, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had his first on-field workout today since his injury-plagued 2013 season. After hitting off a tee in a batting cage and fielding 108 grounders at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, he told reporters that his left ankle is no longer an issue.
Jeter, who turns 40 in June, was limited to 17 games last year after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs.
“I don’t think about it, and that’s a good thing,” Jeter said.
Jeter broke his left ankle Oct. 13, 2012 during the AL championship series opener against Detroit. He was limited to five games and 11 at-bats during spring training last year, stayed behind in Florida when the team broke camp for rehabilitation and broke the ankle again in April during rehabilitation.
“It’s good to have a normal offseason and get some work in,” Jeter said. “Everything is normal now.”
It’s a promising early report, but Jeter remains a major question mark going into his age-40 season. Re-signed to a one-year, $12 million deal over the winter, it’s very possible that 2014 could be the final season of his career. Even if Jeter is able to stay healthy, the Yankees figure to give him plenty of time out of the DH spot to stay fresh. The glove-first Brendan Ryan was brought back this winter as insurance policy at shortstop.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.