Noted sports orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum has died

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According to the Los Angeles Angels, Dr, Lewis Yocum, one of the most notable sports medicine practitioners there was, has died.

An orthopedist who followed in the footsteps of Dr. Frank Jobe — the first man to perform Tommy John surgery — Jobe had been the Angels team doctor for many years. In addition, he has performed surgeries and consults for many other teams and players. After Jobe and Dr. James Andrews, Yocum was easily the most commonly-referenced and best known doctor in baseball circles, be it for the surgeries he performed, the second opinions he offered — he was many a fan’s last hope after dire news was reported following a visit to Andrews — or for, sometimes, being involved in a bit of controversy when it came to how best to proceed for a rehabbing pitcher.

Sports medicine has come a long way since the days of trainers telling sore-armed pitchers to rub some dirt on it and get back out there. Guys like Yocum are the reason why.

Bud Selig has released a statement:

“Dr. Lewis Yocum was a giant in the field of sports medicine.  He was an invaluable resource to not only the Angels franchise but players throughout all of Major League Baseball, team physicians and the members of the Professional Baseball Athletics Trainers Society.  All of our Clubs relied upon Dr. Yocum’s trusted opinion and judgment.  Throughout the last 36 years, the lives and careers of countless players benefited from his pioneering expertise, and he made our game on the field better as a result.  On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Beth, their children, their friends and his many admirers.”

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.