Matt Holliday got through spring training unscathed, unlike so many others, but after just one game he developed accute appendicitis and underwent an emergency appendectomy. Appendicitis is not necessarily rare—coincidentally, Tim Stauffer, the starter Holliday faced in his first game of the season, dealt with it last year—but it has not been explained well in comparison to some other injuries and conditions. The appendix itself is a small closed-end tube located off of the large intestine. It is finger-shaped and unnecessary for normal digestive function, and it often extends out of the abdominal cavity into the pelvic cavity. The wall of the appendix does contain lymphatic tissue that helps the immune system produce antibodies to fight off infections, but this function can be replicated by other tissues in the lymphatic system following appendix removal.
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The last of a six-part series looking at who might wind up before an arbitration panel in February.
The flurry of activity that is the Winter Meetings won’t begin for another week, but this week has a noteworthy event as well. Thursday is the deadline for clubs to offer 2011 contracts to unsigned players on their rosters. Last offseason, nearly 40 players joined the free-agent market at the non-tender deadline, and a few proved to be cost-effective contributors in 2010. Among those non-tenders who rebounded with solid performances were John Buck, Jack Cust, Matt Capps, and Kelly Johnson. So let’s check the arbitration outlook for 2011 for clubs in the American League East, the final installment in a six-part series spotlighting each of the divisions in the major leagues.
The Rangers bomb the Bronxers out of the postseason.
Another strong start from one of the Rangers' power arms. Another shaky turn from one of the Yankee rotation's question marks. Some hard-hit balls by the middle of the Ranger lineup, and stellar stops by their defense on the rare occasions the Yankee hitters squared one up. Questionable decisions by Yankee manager Joe Girardi regarding intentional walks and bullpen selection. A new American League champion — so new, in fact, that they're heading towards their first-ever World Series, where they'll face an as-yet-to-be-determined opponent.
After storming back from a five-run deficit in Game One, the Yankees didn't have the same magic for Game Two.
"Heard this: nobody has ever won a postseason series after trailing 1-0, not even the Yankees." That was my sardonic tweet from somewhere just before the seventh inning of Friday night's ALCS Game One. The Yankees trailed the Rangers 5-0 at the time, with Texas lefty C.J. Wilson baffling the Bronx Bombers to that point, limiting them to three hits and no runs. Meanwhile, the Rangers had jumped all over CC Sabathia, chasing him after four innings and five runs.
The Yankees look to get back to yet another World Series while the Rangers are in uncharted territory.
From 1996 through 1999, the Joe Torre-led Yankees and the Johnny Oates-piloted Rangers faced off in three American League Division Series, the first three times the latter franchise had ever reached the postseason. The Yankees won nine of those 10 games, holding the Rangers to a lone run apiece in their 1998 and 1999 sweeps. Times have changed, however, and while the Yankee machine has simply kept rolling, racking up four pennants and two world championships while missing the playoffs just once since their last meeting, the Rangers endured a dark decade before reemerging as AL West champions thanks to the shrewd deal making of general manager Jon Daniels and the fruits of their well-stocked farm system.
Phil Hughes silences the doubters by coming up big as the Yankees finish off a sweep of the Twins.
At the outset of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Twins, doubts about the defending world champions centered almost entirely upon their rotation. Quite reasonably so, given that aside from ace CC Sabathia, their starters had put up a 5.91 ERA after the All-Star break, and that Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and every other one of manager Joe Girardi's options had sizable question marks next to their names. But even with Sabathia scuffling in Game One against the Twins, the Yankees were able to pull off a sweep of the series. On Thursday, Pettitte shook off concerns about his health and his stamina to pitch like a man who'd done it all a thousand times before. On Saturday night it was Hughes' turn, and with an electrified Bronx crowd of 50,840 at his back on a clear, crisp October night, he simply stifled the Twins with seven shutout innings while the Yankees offense pounced upon his opposite number, Brian Duensing. After four innings and a 5-0 lead, the outcome was never in doubt; the Yanks had their sweep.
The Twins and Yankees meet yet again in the first round of the postseason but Minnesota has home field advantage this time.
As they did last year as well as 2003 and 2004, the Twins run squarely into the Yankee juggernaut in the first round. Unlike those other three meetings, they have home field advantage this time around, as they won the AL Central going away thanks to a league-best 48-26 second-half record. The defending world champion Yankees, who held the majors' best record for most of the season, were forced to settle for the wild card due to a sluggish 13-17 showing against a very tough schedule in September and October. Despite the relative temperatures of the two clubs, it's important to remember that late-season records aren't predictive of October success—or failure.
Digging deeper into some good and bad of the American League East's power trio.
When the pitching matchup for Sunday night's Yankees-Red Sox game was initially announced, I joked that I would fake my own death to avoid watching the potentially plodding affair of New York's Dustin Moseley facing off against Daisuke Matsuzaka. As it turns out, the joke was on me, because even having attended three games at Yankee Stadium over the past week (two in the press box, one in the cheap seats) while watching the Yankees duke it out with the American League East's other two heavyweights, I somehow managed to miss out on the best one. With the Yankees riding their second four-game losing streak in a two-week span coming into Sunday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to the whip and started Phil Hughes—who was set to be skipped in accordance with efforts to manage his innings total—in Moseley's place. Hughes gave the Yankees his best outing in more than a month, and the same can be said for Matsuzaka. The result was a taut 10-inning thriller worthy of the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball hype.
The Red Sox didn't make up ground in the AL East, but they were able to hold steady during a wraparound series with the Yankees.
Are the Red Sox dead? As the finale of their wraparound four-game series dawned on Monday, they stood seven games out of first place (eight in the loss column) in the American League East and 4 1/2 out of the wild card, behind not only the Rays but also the Twins, whose 17-7 second-half record provided yet another obstacle for Boston's path. The Red Sox'x Playoff Odds stood at 5.4 for the division, 17.9 percent for the wild card, and 23.3 percent overall—roughly a one-in-four chance of playing into October. With center fielder Mike Cameron and first baseman Kevin Youkilis (their best hitter) both felled by season-ending injuries last week, Boston's odds would appear to be even longer. But as anyone who's followed the AL East's battles for the past decade knows, you count the Red Sox out at your peril.