Making official what was reported earlier this week, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Masahiro Tanaka will start Opening Day.
Tanaka was brilliant as a rookie last season, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 innings, but he was shut down with elbow problems in July and has spent all spring trying to show that he can continue pitching without undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The results have been very promising, with a 1.74 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 10 spring training innings, and the Yankees feel confident enough in Tanaka’s health to send him out there for Game 1.
Girardi also announced that Tanaka will be followed in the rotation by Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, and Nathan Eovaldi, with the fifth spot unnamed (but presumed to be going to Adam Warren).
I guess this came out the day he was elected but I missed it somehow: Larry Walker is going to have a Rockies cap on his Fall of Fame plaque.
While it was once solely the choice of the inductee, for the past couple of decades the Hall of Fame has had final say on the caps, though the request of the inductee is noted. This is done to prevent a situation in which a cap truly misrepresents history. This issue arose around the time Wade Boggs was inducted, as he reportedly had a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to pick their cap on his plaque which, to say the least, would’ve been unrepresentative.
There have been some mildly controversial picks in the past, and some guys who would seem to have a clear choice have gone with blank caps to avoid upsetting the fan base of one of his other teams, but Walker’s doesn’t seem all that controversial to me.
Walker played ten years in Colorado to six years in Montreal and two years in St. Louis. His numbers in Colorado were substantial better than in Montreal. His MVP Award, most of his Gold Gloves, most of his All-Star appearances, and all of his black ink with the exception of the NL doubles title in 1994 came with the Rockies too. Walker requested the Rockies cap, noting correctly that he “did more damage” in a Rockies uniform than anyplace else. And, of course, that damage is what got him elected to the Hall of Fame.
Still, I imagine fans of the old Expos will take at least some issue here. Those folks tend to be pretty possessive of their team’s old stars. It’s understandable, I suppose, given that they’ve not gotten any new ones in a decade or two. Add in the fact that Walker played for the 1994 Expos team onto which people love to project things both reasonable and unreasonable, and you can expect that the Expos dead-enders might feel a bit slighted.
Welp, sorry. A Rockies cap is the right choice. And that’s Walker’s cap will feature.