The Yankees: 1901-2014

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Mike Lupica reflects on the End of The Jeter Era and he has some hard truths to tell you all: the party is over. When Jeter is gone, so too is everything great about the Yankees. And, while all of those championship rings were great  . . .

. . .  once Jeter is gone, there is no one who connects to any of that. There really is no one. It is why the notion that Jeter got too much money in that last contract scrum he had with the Yankees a few years ago was always so chowderheaded, and short-sighted. Or it was just people just thinking and saying what the people running the Yankees wanted them to think and say. You could never properly quantify what Jeter has meant to the brand, and still means . . . The Yankees will go on, and will win again. It just won’t be like the winning they got from Jeter and Bernie and Mo, Pettitte and Posada. And Paul O’Neill. There will never again be a time like this. Jeter takes that with him. They can buy a lot at Yankee Stadium, maybe even one more postseason for Derek Jeter.

But when he goes, in all the ways that matter at the Stadium, there is no one.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be digging into the microfiche to find those columns about how “it’s all over, there is no one” following Babe Ruth, Lou Gehirg, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle’s retirements. About how, once Reggie left for Anaheim, the Yankees ceased to be. Or maybe I’ll find a bit less maudlin sentiment and a bit more perspective. Who knows until I look!

Or maybe I’ll just note that A-Rod was the driving force behind the last Yankees championship and that he’ll still be around next year. And, before you say that Lupica isn’t considering that, oh baby, he is:

What does Alex Rodriguez think about when he watches the reception Jeter got in Minneapolis the other night?

What does Rodriguez think about when he watches the All-Star Game?

Does he finally have some awareness that he did this to himself, or is he still blaming everybody else — including the lawyers he hasn’t paid — for everything that has ever happened to him?

I’m assuming he’s thinking far less about it than Lupica is.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.