Neck injury could force Casey Blake into retirement

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Casey Blake’s latest injury is a pinched nerve in his neck, which has caused him to miss four straight games, and the 37-year-old is thinking ahead to how it could impact his health long after retiring from baseball.

“Obviously, this neck thing is pretty serious,” Blake told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. “I want to be able to move my neck when I’m 50.

Blake has played just 58 of 126 games this season, posting a career-worst .704 OPS and spending three different stints on the disabled list.

He’ll be a free agent this offseason once the Dodgers decline their $6 million team option and Hernandez reports that Blake may be reconsidering retirement after previously saying he planned to play somewhere in 2012 because “doctors have warned him that his condition could worsen if he continues to play.”

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.