Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud needs thumb surgery

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According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud tore ligaments in his thumb while serving as Team USA’s catcher at the 39th Baseball World Cup in Panama and has headed home to undergo a surgical procedure.

Acquired in a package for Roy Halladay back in December of 2009, d’Arnaud batted .311 with a .914 OPS, 33 doubles, 21 home runs and 78 RBI in 114 games this season at Double-A New Hampshire.

He carries serious major league upside and should make the climb to Triple-A Las Vegas at some point next year if his recovery from thumb surgery goes as smoothly as expected.

The experts at Baseball America ranked d’Arnaud as the game’s 36th most promising prospect last winter. The 22-year-old from Long Beach, California should be even higher on this offseason’s lists.

Kirk Gibson home run happened 30 years ago

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With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.

Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.

All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.

For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.

But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: