News and Notes from around the American League East
Once again, we have a perfect weekend for sports. The rain is gone and the sun is shining, the World Cup Quarterfinals continue with two more games today, and Wimbledon comes to an end with the men’s and women’s finals this weekend. With all the going on, it’s easy to forget about baseball. I understand. Baseball is always just kind of there in the background; when bigger and better things come around, it takes a backseat. That’s fine. I’m just here to make sure you didn’t miss anything from America’s Pastime while you were watching the World Cup, or a man consume 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes. So, what did you miss this week in the American League East? Well…
CC Sabathia May Be Done for the Year
Two months ago, I wrote a column asking what had happened to CC Sabathia and questioned whether he’d ever be able to regain his form and return to being one of the best pitchers in baseball. Turns out, he probably won’t. According to Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi, Sabathia had a setback in his recovery from knee problems and his next move will likely be under the knife. Sabathia is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews, which is never a good sign, and may need micro-fracture knee surgery. If that’s the case, it may be a long, long time before we see CC again. So long, in fact, I’d be surprised if we see him pitch for the Yankees again. It was a quick fall for Sabathia, and it’s looking less and less like he’ll be able to pick himself up.
Johnny Damon Wants to Return
While not technically an AL East story, as Damon last played in Cleveland and currently plays nowhere, it’s close enough. Damon played his most memorable years in the AL East with Boston and New York, and now the 40-year-old – who last played with the Indians in 2012 – wants to try a comeback. In his words, he can still outhit “half the league,” and he feels he has unfinished business. While I’m sure the two-time World Series champion would love a third, my guess is that unfinished business has more to do with his 2,769 career hits. An additional 231 hits to reach 3,000 is no gimme, but in two seasons he could probably do it if he’s even remotely the same hitter he used to be. I would say he’d be a perfect fit in Boston, who is dying for some offensive production in the outfield, but at this stage there’s really no point, as Boston is out of it anyway. He’d be a good fit in New York, who has outfield issues of its own, and I’m sure a dozen teams in the league would benefit from giving him a shot. Whether anyone pulls the trigger or not remains to be seen.
Jeremy Hellickson Close to Making Season Debut
While the Red Sox trend in the wrong direction, the Rays – now only a game behind Boston – are trying to make a push back into some kind of contention. They will get one step closer to that soon, as Jeremy Hellickson nears his debut. The 27-year-old righty – who coming off January elbow surgery – allowed two runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings for Triple-A Durham, and will likely make his MLB return sometime immediately before or after the All-Star break. It may be too little, too late for Tampa, but they’ve been playing better the last month or two and getting an arm back can only help them in their attempt to escape the AL East basement.
Red Sox Rookie Mookie Betts Records First Career Hit and Home Run
Just about the only positive thing going for the Red Sox right now is their ability to get some of the younger farm system guys into the big leagues. Betts is the latest to make the jump, and in his first week in the Majors recorded his first career hit (June 29 against Chase Whitely) and his first career home run (July 2 against Carlos Villanueva). At least if they’re going to lose, they’re making some sort of progress while they do so. I’m 0-2 on Red Sox rookie obsessions lately with Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts both struggling badly, so here’s hoping things go better for Mookie.
Now that’s better. You’re all caught up in the goings-on of the American League East, for now. Check back regularly to see what’s going on in the AL East and throughout baseball at Today’s Knuckleball.