Rockies place closer Rafael Betancourt on the DL again

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After blowing two consecutive saves in Philadelphia on Wednesday and Thursday, the Rockies have placed closer Rafael Betancourt on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right elbow, reports MLB.com’s Michael Radano. He will undergo an MRI on Monday which the club hopes assuages their fear he has torn his ulnar ligament.

On Wednesday, Betancourt recorded just one out while allowing two doubles and an intentional walk before Michael Young hit a walk-off single to left field. On Thursday, Betancourt got two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Betancourt then allowed a double, a stolen base, an infield single, and a walk before Domonic Brown laced a walk-off RBI single to right field. The two shaky outings caused the 38-year-old Betancourt’s ERA to rise from 2.93 to 4.08.

Betancourt was on the DL twice previously this season: from June 1-28 with a strained right groin, and from July 15 through August 16 with appendicitis.

In related transaction news, the Rockies called up Rob Scahill, activated Jhoulys Chacin from bereavement leave, and designated Edgmer Escalona for assignment.

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.