Mike Minor
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Mike Minor has the last laugh with Alex Cora

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On September 26 last year, Rangers starter Mike Minor was on the precipice of a career milestone: his 200th strikeout of the season. He entered that afternoon’s start against the Red Sox at 191, and ended up racking up eight through eight innings of work.

In the ninth inning, Minor got the first out on a Sandy León fly out to left field. The next batter, Chris Owings, popped up about halfway down the first base line. First baseman Ronald Guzmán didn’t make much of an effort to make the catch, letting the ball drop in foul territory. With a new lease on strikeout No. 200, Minor threw a change-up high and inside that was generously called strike three. Manager Chris Woodward lifted Minor from the game with milestone in tow. José Leclerc struck out Marco Hernández to end the game.

After the game, Alex Cora — then the manager of the Red Sox — expressed displeasure with how the Rangers handled Minor’s milestone. Cora said, “I’m just happy our guys play the game the right way.”

Cora has since been embroiled in controversy as Major League Baseball has investigated the Astros’ use of technology to steal and relay signs during their 2017 championship season, when Cora was the bench coach. Cora then went on to become the manager of the Red Sox, leading them to a championship in 2018. MLB’s investigation of Cora’s Red Sox is ongoing. Fired by the Red Sox earlier today, Cora is facing what would seem to be a one-year suspension at minimum and very likely multiple years.

Minor gets to have the last laugh with Cora. After today’s news, Minor tweeted:

“Pete” refers to Pete Abraham, the Red Sox beat writer for The Boston Globe. Following last year’s kerfluffle, Abraham tweeted, “Mike Minor’s 200th strikeout should have a big asterisk. That was bush. Chasing a milestone that way is unprofessional.”

So make that two last laughs for Minor.

New York Yankees roster and schedule for 2020

Yankees roster and schedule
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The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The New York Yankees roster and schedule:

YANKEES ROSTER (projected) 

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Yankees roster to begin the season:

Catchers

Gary Sánchez
Kyle Higashioka

Infielders:

Luke Voit
Mike Ford
DJ LeMahieu
Gio Urshela
Miguel Andújar
Gleyber Torres
Tyler Wade

Outfielders

Aaron Judge
Aaron Hicks
Giancarlo Stanton
Brett Gardner
Mike Tauchman

Starters

Gerrit Cole
Masahiro Tanaka
James Paxton
J.A. Happ
Jordan Montgomery
Jonathan Loaisiga

Relievers

Aroldis Chapman
Zack Britton
Adam Ottavino
Chad Green
Tommy Kahnle
Luis Cessa
Jonathan Holder
Tyler Lyons
David Hale


BREAKDOWN:

It’s weird to say this but the delay to the season due to the pandemic actually helped the Yankees a fair amount. Because of new injuries and extended rehab from older injuries, the very injured 2019 New York Yankees were poised to begin the regular season with many key players on the injured list, including Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and James Paxton, among others. It’s not 100% clear if all of those guys will be back and at full strength when the club starts play next week, but Stanton and Paxton seem like a go right now and Judge and Hicks are ramping up.

Obviously the biggest change for 2020, though, is Gerrit Cole, the Yankees big free agent acquisition last winter. Adding arguably the game’s best starter will take a lot of pressure off of the other guys in the rotation and ease the workload of a bullpen that, however deep and talented it is, could still use a break here and there.

With health, hopefully, not the concern it was back in March or last year, we’re left with a Yankees team that (a) has one of the most loaded lineups in the game; (b) features a much-improved rotation with a clear and solid top-four; and (c) has fantastic bullpen talent and depth. Last year’s team, despite all of the injuries, won 103 games. This year’s team is considered the favorite in the American League and, by extension, in all of baseball.

YANKEES SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

Yankees home stands will be July 29-Aug. 2 (Phillies, Red Sox), Aug. 11-20 (Braves, Red Sox, Rays), Aug. 28-Sept. 2 (Mets, Rays), Sept. 10-17 (Orioles, Blue Jays) and Sept. 25-27 (Marlins). Their rivalry games against the Red Sox will be July 31-Aug. 2 (Yankee Stadium), Aug. 14-17 (Yankee Stadium) and Sept. 18-20 (Fenway Park). Rivalry games against the Mets will be played Aug. 21-23 (Citi Field) and Aug. 28-30 (Yankee Stadium).

The entire Yankees roster and schedule can be seen here.