Masahiro Tanaka
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Video: Masahiro Tanaka’s wild inning-ending play ends in injury

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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka went above and beyond the call of duty during Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Rays. He held the Rays scoreless through five innings and had struck out both Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham in the top of the sixth when Ji-Man Choi roped a double out to left field. With a one-run lead to protect, Tanaka induced a first-pitch groundout from Yandy Díaz, but things didn’t go quite as expected: the ball ricocheted off of his right leg, then caromed back toward first base for an easy 1-3 putout.

It’s a play that might not have worked quite so perfectly if the ball hadn’t struck Tanaka’s shin at just the right angle. Unfortunately for the pitcher, it was also one of the hardest-hit batted balls he’d allowed all year — and one that left a definite contusion on his leg. He exited with a trainer and did not return for the seventh inning, when Tommy Kahnle stepped in for the starter and gave up the tying run on a Brandon Lowe solo shot.

For now, however, it doesn’t seem as though the Yankees have much to worry about. X-rays returned negative for any fractures, and Tanaka is likely to make a full recovery well before his next scheduled start. So far this season, the 30-year-old righty is 3-3 through 10 starts with a 3.09 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 across 58 1/3 innings.

The Yankees, meanwhile, are now 27-17 following Saturday’s loss and sit just half a game behind the Rays for first place in the AL East.

Larry Walker to wear a Rockies cap on his Hall of Fame plaque

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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.