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Sean Rodriguez could miss entire 2017 season due to shoulder injury

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Braves utilityman Sean Rodriguez was involved in a scary car accident on January 28. His SUV was T-boned by a stolen police car, injuring his wife and his two children. It was initially reported that Rodriguez was unharmed, but unfortunately he suffered a serious shoulder injury that may cause him to miss the entire 2017 season, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Saturday that Rodriguez will undergo major surgery on his shoulder that will cause him to miss three to five months. O’Brien’s source says there’s a possibility Rodriguez misses the whole season.

As Ashley pointed out earlier, Rodriguez’s absence is a big reason why the Braves acquired veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Reds on Sunday.

The Braves signed Rodriguez to a two-year, $11.5 million contract back in November. The 31-year-old is coming off a career year with the Pirates during which he hit .270/.349/.510 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI over 342 plate appearances while playing every position except for pitcher and catcher.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.

Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.

Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.

Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.