Michael Young makes first start at shortstop since 2008

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As much of an advantage that it’d seem to be for the Rangers to avoid the Yankees and play the ALDS at home, they’re not taking the final three games especially seriously.

On Monday, they pulled C.J. Wilson after two innings to keep him in line to start Friday’s Game 1, and tonight, they’re giving Michael Young his first start at shortstop in three years.

Young was the AL Gold Glove winner at shortstop in 2008, but the Rangers moved him to third base the next year to make room for Elvis Andrus anyway.  This year, Young has started 39 games at third, 36 at first and 14 at second.

The Rangers probably wanted to give Young a game at shortstop just in case they needed him there in the postseason, particularly in the World Series.

With Young at shortstop, Andrus is making his first career start at DH.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.