Gary Sanchez
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Yankees activate Gary Sanchez

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The Yankees have activated catcher Gary Sanchez from the 10-day disabled list in advance of Saturday’s game against the Tigers, making this the first start the young backstop has seen in nearly six weeks. Sanchez recently completed a four-game rehab stint in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was given an off day on Friday so that the team could recall him when rosters expanded instead of making an additional move.

It’s been a rough road to recovery for the 25-year-old Sanchez, who was sent to the DL twice after sustaining multiple groin injuries this summer. Following a breakout All-Star performance in 2017, he worked through just 66 games in 2018 and batted a career-low .188/.283/.416 with 14 home runs and a .699 OPS through 279 plate appearances. Whether or not he can return to the .275+ average, 30+ home run pace he set last year remains to be seen.

The Yankees also added Andrew McCutchen, Adeiny Hechavarria, Luis Cessa, Tyler Wade, and recently-signed Stephen Tarpley to the roster as part of the standard September expansion. As for other updates to the disabled list, which currently carries Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, and Didi Gregorius, among a handful of others, it doesn’t look like there are any imminent changes to be made, though Gregorius could be reinstated as soon as Friday if he continues to progress in his recovery from a left heel injury.

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.