The time a guy was almost killed while on the on deck circle

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Not much is going on this morning so I spent some time reading some “this day in history” kind of stuff. Came across one that most fans under, say, 50, probably don’t know about. It happened 40 years ago yesterday: Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager almost freakin’ dying during a game.

The details of the story can be read over at the baseball history website Wahoo Sam. The upshot, though, is that Yeager was standing in the on deck circle as teammate Bill Russell faced Randy Jones of the San Diego Padres. Russell hit into what seemed like a routine 5-3 groundout. The non-routine part was how Russell’s bat exploded and a shard of it hit Yeager, piercing his esophagus and nearly killing him. The details are not for the squeamish but if you can handle descriptions of blood and stuff, Wahoo Sam’s story is a good one about how Yeager almost became the second on-field fatality in major league history.

Yeager would require surgery to remove the bat shards from his neck. The crazy part: he wasn’t done for the season. He came back on September 25 and played in seven more games to finish out the year. This for a Dodgers team that was ten games out of first place and which had no shot at catching the Big Red Machine in the NL West. Yeager would go on to play through the 1986 season.

Crazy town.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.