Great Moments in Independent League Baseball

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Friend of HBT Emma Span makes her Sports On Earth debut on the day that Sports on Earth debuts. She’s the “Video Killed the Radio Star” of the online sports world.

Her topic: Roger Clemens’ return to baseball with the Sugar Land Skeeters.  You should read it all because she’s a great writer, but if you take nothing else away from it, take this:

As the team’s name indicates, the Skeeters are far from the majors in both attitude and talent. (In honor of the Rocket, they postponed Saturday’s scheduled promotion, in which “Human Fireball” Ted Batchelor would set himself aflame and round the bases, until Sept. 8).

I’ve seen Roger Clemens pitch hundreds of times. I’ve never seen anyone round the bases while on fire. I think the Skeeters made a bad call here, folks.

Yankees set to activate Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday

Giancarlo Stanton
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Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is set to return from the injured list on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Sunday. The timing coincides well with the addition of Edwin Encarnación, who was acquired from the Mariners on Saturday evening and is expected to be active and available for the Yankees as soon as Monday night.

The Yankees have every reason to hope that Stanton will be able to return to his usual 30+ homer, 4.0+ fWAR self as he works his way back to a full-time role this season. (Fueling some of that hope: Four home runs in 10 PA at High-A Tampa during his latest stretch of rehab games.) Undoubtedly, they’re still prepared to play it safe with the 29-year-old, who has already suffered significant shoulder, biceps, and calf injuries and has not appeared in a major-league game since March 31. Through the Yankees’ first three games of 2019, he went 2-for-15 with a pair of singles, seven walks, and four strikeouts.

With Encarnación slotting into a DH/first base role, Stanton is expected to spend the bulk of his playing time in the left field corner. That may cause a bit of a logjam in the outfield, as Brett Gardner took over that spot in Stanton’s absence and will likely be forced into a backup role once Aaron Judge returns from the IL — but for now, Boone says, he “still expects Gardy to play a lot.”