YANKEES PLAY THE GAME…SLIME-ROD IN REHAB GAME THURSDAY

Alex Rodriguez injury: Yankees 3B to play simulated game Thursday

By               @NoahJarosh                 on Jul 31 2013, 10:11p     +

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Jonathan Daniel
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Rodriguez, once again healthy after suffering a strained quadriceps, is hoping to return to game action soon.

While Alex Rodriguez continues his attempts to fend off a suspension from Major League Baseball, he is still working on a return to the Yankees‘ lineup. Rodriguez will play in a simulated game on Thursday and anticipates beginning a rehab assignment on Friday, reports ESPN.com.

Rodriguez has missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing hip surgery in the offseason to repair a torn labrum. He had begun a minor league rehab assignment on July 2, but was shut down again after suffering a strained quadriceps.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman was hesitant to say where Rodriguez would play on Friday. Cashman told ESPN, “We have a schedule and we’ll be checking the weather…We don’t want to say yet.”

Rodriguez and MLB negotiating suspension settlement, per report

Facing a lifetime ban if he did not cooperate, Rodriguez has instead reportedly chosen to work with the league

Rodriguez, 38, is the active leader in career home runs, with 647 long balls since he was first called up in 1994. He hit .272/.353/.430 over 122 games during the 2012 season.

However, Rodriguez’s efforts to return may all be for nought. Reports earlier suggested that Rodriguez–along with other players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal–could be suspended as soon as Friday. Early reports Wednesday indicated that the MLB would impose a lifetime ban on Rodriguez if he chose not to cooperate, but reports Wednesday night say Rodriguez and his representatives are working with the league on a settlement.

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LANCE BERKMAN NOT READY FOR DECISION ON FUTURE

Rangers’ Berkman not ready for decision on future

By STEPHEN HAWKINS (AP Sports Writer) | The Associated Press – 17 minutes ago

  • Texas Rangers' Lance Berkman looks on from the dugout during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)Texas Rangers’ Lance Berkman looks on from the dugout during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, …

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Lance Berkman plans to go with the Texas Rangers on their upcoming trip and isn’t ready yet to make a decision on whether he will play again.

The 37-year-old switch-hitting designated hitter said Wednesday that he wants to do what’s right for the organization, and hasn’t yet determined what that is.

Berkman has been on the disabled list since July 7 with left hip inflammation But he is also having issues with his right knee, the one that was operated on twice last season when he was limited to 32 games for St. Louis.

”I think physically I could probably do it,” Berkman said. ”It’s not a matter of not being able to go out there on the field, it’s a matter of how effective I think I’ll be when I get out there. … It’s not the ability to assume the field, it’s what happens after that.”

Texas didn’t acquire a hitter before the non-waiver trade deadline Wednesday. The team also waits word on if Nelson Cruz will be suspended by Major League Baseball in its drug investigation related to the Biogenesis case.

Berkman is hitting .254 with six home runs and 34 RBIs.

”I want to do what I feel is right for the organization, so that’s a factor that I still haven’t decided what the best thing would be,” Berkman said. ”Who knows what’s going to happen with Nellie’s situation. The complexion of the team could be a lot different. I don’t think the landscape is settled enough to be able to make a decision yet.”

General manager Jon Daniels said he spoke to Berkman last week, and expected to have another conversation as early as Wednesday night.

Asked if he would be urging Berkman to do all he can to return in light of the Rangers not adding a hitter and a possible 50-game suspension for Cruz, Daniels said Berkman was already trying to get back on the field.

”I don’t know that I need to urge him for that. I think he’s trying,” Daniels said. ”I think we’re all at the mercy at our bodies respond to certain things. I just don’t think his body’s responding to either time off or treatment. I don’t know that he needs urging. … But so far, it hasn’t really bounced back the way he had hoped or the way we had hoped.”

The Rangers knew of the risk when they gave Berkman a $10 million contract last winter that includes a $12 million club option for 2014 with a $1 million buyout.

Texas wrapped up a series with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, and have a makeup game Thursday at home against Arizona. The playoff-hopeful Rangers then play their next 10 games on the road – at Oakland, the Angels and then Houston, where Berkman started his career from 1999-2010.

MLB TRADE DEADLINE WINNERS & LOSERS

Trade deadline winners and losers

3 hours ago

The non-waiver trade deadline passed at 4 p.m. ET with a handful of moves at the end, a number of teams that held tight for no good reason and an epic trade of Bud for Hoes and a Hader. Thanks to that deal, all of us were winners.

In the spirit of objective analysis, however, we present as a complement 10 more winners and 10 losers, in no particular order, from the deals that were done and those that weren’t.

 

WINNERS

 

Boston Red Sox: The best player on the move was Jake Peavy, and he went to the team that needed him most. Between Peavy joining the Red Sox’s rotation and Matt Moore hitting the disabled list for American League East-leading Tampa Bay, it was a fruitful 24 hours for the Red Sox, especially since they didn’t give up any of their best prospects.

San Diego Padres: Ian Kennedy is a classic buy-low candidate whose flyball tendencies – he’s got the sixth-lowest groundball rate among starters this year – should play significantly better at Petco Park than he did in Phoenix. Considering all it cost for at least two years of Kennedy’s services was situational lefty Joe Thatcher, relief prospect Matt Stites and a draft pick between the second and third rounds, Padres GM Josh Byrnes might have made the best trade ever for a pitcher with an ERA over 5.00.

Houston Astros: The dismantling continues, and because of it Houston may now have the deepest farm system in baseball. That’s the point of Jeff Luhnow’s destroy-to-rebuild plan, and shipping off starter Bud Norris to the Baltimore Orioles for L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader and a draft pick, along with dealing outfielder Justin Maxwell for promising A-ball pitcher Kyle Smith, played into that. Already the Astros had parlayed closer Jose Veras into two other prospects. That’s how this is done. Don’t get cute. Don’t get fancy. Just bite down, swallow hard and hope your scouts are good.

Detroit Tigers: All along the Tigers understood Jhonny Peralta was likely to take a suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis, so turning an area of strength (outfield, with young Avisail Garcia) into a replacement shortstop for the present as well as the next five years in Jose Iglesias was shrewd as can be. Iglesias may not hit. He will win Gold Gloves, and with a staff of groundball mavens, that’s all they need.

Avisail Garcia has a huge upside for the Chicago White Sox. (USAT Sports)Chicago White Sox: Even if Peavy was the prize of the deadline, he was still a pitcher with a history of arm trouble due $20 million. To get a lottery ticket with the potential of Avisail Garcia as well as a 100-mph fireballer in Frank Montas, plus two other pieces, first-year GM Rick Hahn added much-needed bulk to an organization with next to no potential impact prospects. If they can get rid of Alex Rios and others in August, they’re even bigger winners.

Tampa Bay Rays: Jesse Crain had been arguably the best reliever in baseball this season before he hit the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Other teams that talked with the White Sox about him weren’t worried about him coming back. If he does and is able to pitch meaningful innings, a Rays bullpen that already has Alex Torres (0.29 ERA), Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney (two earned runs in the last six weeks) gets that much better.

Chicago Cubs: For two months of Matt Garza, Cubs executives believe they got a better return than the White Sox did for a year and a third of Peavy. C.J. Edwards looks like a No. 3 or 4 starter, Mike Olt was a top prospect before a concussion, Justin Grimm could turn into an innings eater and there’s a player to be named on top of that. They finally dumped Alfonso Soriano‘s contract. That would constitute a great deadline by itself. Bonus points for holding on to David DeJesus, which brought us the delight of Kim DeJesus’ deadline-day binge drinking.

Baltimore Orioles: No team did more than the Orioles in terms of volume. Among Scott Feldman, Francisco Rodriguez and Norris, they overhauled a quarter of a staff that already had run through 22 pitchers this season. Considering what they gave up – three of the best prospects in a relatively thin system – they can only hope it’s enough to catch the Rays and Red Sox in the AL East or hold off Cleveland, Texas, New York and Kansas City for a wild-card spot.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are playing so well these days it’s almost as if they don’t need anything. Whenever Matt Kemp returns it’s going to be awkward, and the Dodgers knew that when they were listening on calls about Kemp (as well as Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier). Bolstering their rotation with Ricky Nolasco didn’t cost much at all, and taking a flier on Brian Wilson coming off Tommy John surgery was a gamble with no downside. From May flop to National League favorite? It’s looking more and more like it.

Atlanta Braves: Sure, there are concerns about Brandon Beachy playing a big role down the stretch coming off Tommy John surgery. And B.J. Upton looks like a $75-million mistake. But the Scott Downs-for-next-to-nothing deal was a nice bit of trickery to cover the overuse that led to their two best lefty relievers, Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty, blowing out their elbows.

 

 

LOSERS

 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Rarely do you see a trade deadline go by with the best team in baseball sitting on its hands entirely. While the Pirates have reached that point where it’s difficult to doubt their viability, the same criticisms as always remain: Namely, can they hit enough and how is their bullpen going to hold up? Already closer Jason Grilli is on the disabled list, and their efforts to add a bat fell short. There is August, though having the best record does have its disadvantages: So long as the Pirates are on top, every team can block them from claiming a player.

Seattle Mariners: Michael Morse: free agent. Raul Ibanez: free agent. Kendrys Morales: free agent. Seattle Mariners: six games under .500, 8½ back of the wild card, 12½ out of first place. We’ll leave this one to Randolph and Mortimer.

The Mets failed to deal Marlon Byrd despite his pending free agency. (USAT Sports)New York Mets: Similarly, a number of contenders needed right-handed bats, and the Mets have 35-year-old free-agent-to-be Marlon Byrd there for the picking. No, the offers for him weren’t great, but what would they expect with a fourth outfielder. They did the same thing with Scott Hairston last season and missed an opportunity for one more lottery ticket in a system that could use everything it can get.

Texas Rangers: When the Rangers dealt for Garza, they looked like they were all-in. Then they started slumping, got cold feet on just how much this team was worth buying into and didn’t bother getting a bat to replace the soon-to-be-suspended Nelson Cruz. They tried, calling around on everyone from Carlos Gonzalez to Jose Bautista to Kemp, offering Joe Nathan and Elvis Andrus and even Garza. Ultimately, they’re left with this team and the hope that the returning Matt Harrison and Neftali Feliz will make up for an atypically meek offense.

Philadelphia Phillies: There is a reason some teams refuse to offer no-trade clauses: exactly what happened to the Phillies this season. Not that they wanted to deal Chase Utley – they seem to love the idea of him as the player who will spend his whole career in their uniform – but he would have brought significant return if not for the 21-team no-trade clause. And Michael Young‘s refusal until late in the process to consider deals was laughable, seeing as the Phillies’ acquisition of Young was something of a folly in the first place, compounded by guaranteeing a no-trade.

Michael Young: Enjoy that drive for .500!

Los Angeles Angels: They whiffed on Kennedy. They didn’t trade Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar despite motivations to do as much – motivations in place, mind you, because they need pitching, which they need, of course, because they traded Ervin Santana for a guy who had Tommy John surgery before he threw one pitch for them. The deadline was a microcosm of the season for the Angels: a big, ugly mess.

New York Yankees: Look, Alfonso Soriano may hit some homers. He certainly has had his share over the last 6½ seasons with the Cubs. Still, when the average age of your outfield is AARP eligible, there is something decidedly wrong with the process of curating talent. The Yankees made this trade over the objection of GM Brian Cashman, and as long as that continues to happen – a neutered GM, an attraction toward past-their-prime players and, of course, a $100 million outlay for a guy who may never play again – the Yankees will have trouble digging themselves from this bad place they created and may stay there for longer than they have since the early 1990s.

San Francisco Giants: GM Brian Sabean said he was insulted by the offers. Perhaps that’s because he was asking for a major league-ready starting pitcher for lefty specialist Javier Lopez, as insulting an ask as executives this week found. (Though, come to think of it, that’s pretty much what San Diego got for Thatcher, so maybe not.) Holding onto Lopez, Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a team that’s in last place. Oh, well. Sabean can reach into his stack of get-out-of-jail-free cards from two championships in three seasons.

Hunter Pence: Apparently staying on a last-place team and all but ensuring you receive a compensation tender that very well could destroy your free-agent value is worth pumping your fists over. To each his own.

CAN THE NFL MAKE THE PROBOWL WATCHABLE

Eli Manning looks super stoked to be at the Pro Bowl.
.View gallery
Eli Manning looks super stoked to be at the Pro Bowl.
The Week’s Editorial Staff                                 5 hours ago                                                      The Week                             FootballNational Football LeaguePro BowlJerry Rice
        Big changes are coming next year, but none address the game’s fundamental flawNo one cares about the Pro Bowl.Just ask Google.

The NFL has acknowledged as much in recent years, as it has sought to find a suitable way to fix football’s equivalent of the All-Star Game. Last October, commissioner Roger Goodell even suggested that the league would dump it entirely, saying the 2012-13 installment had been an “embarrassment.”

“If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard (of high play), I am inclined to not play it,” he said. “It is really tough to force competition, and after a long season, to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level they played is really tough.”

On Wednesday, the NFL announced it would keep the Pro Bowl after all — but only after giving it a complete makeover.

Among the changes:

  • The game will no longer pit the NFC against the AFC. Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice, along with two active players and two Fantasy Football champs, will draft players onto each team just before the game.
  • There will be no more kickoffs. The ball will instead be placed at the 25-yard line after scores and to start each quarter.
  • There will be a “Game within a Game” with a two-minute warning added to the end of the first and third quarters in an attempt to goose scoring.

The changes are “designed to make it the ultimate fan-friendly celebration of the game,” according to the NFL’s triumphant press release.

But the changes don’t address the biggest problem fans have with the Pro Bowl.

So much of football’s appeal is its physicality. Unlike, say, baseball, in which players can safely go full speed on every play in an All-Star Game, football players phone it in at the Pro Bowl because they don’t want to risk inflicting, or enduring, serous injuries in a meaningless game.

“Football fans weren’t tuning out because they were tired of seeing the NFC’s best versus the AFC’s best,” NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling wrote. “They simply were offended by players going through the motions, making ‘business decisions’ when it came to tackling and blocking in an exhibition game.”

That will be even more true under the new format because players from the same team can be “drafted” onto opposing Pro Bowl squads.

The league has a strong financial incentive for keeping the game around. Though the Pro Bowl is routinely the least-watched football game all year, its ratings handily trump all-star games of other pro sports.

Last season, 12.2 million people watched the Pro Bowl. The MLB All-Star Game, despite all its fanfare, attracted 10.9 million viewers in 2012.

Millions of people will tune in to the 2014 Pro Bowl. Maybe millions more will watch it for the first time to see the new format in action, or merely to catch a glimpse of Jerry Rice back on a football field. Still, the players are unlikely to put in any more effort next time around, perhaps even less so since they could be hitting their teammates.

The Pro Bowl will be different next year, but that doesn’t mean it will be any better.

  • Eli Manning looks super stoked to be at the Pro Bowl.
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THE BUD NORRIS TRADE MAY BE THE FUNNIEST EVER

The Bud Norris trade may be the funniest ever

By Mike Oz | Big League Stew – 2 hours 37 minutes ago

 

 

(USA Today)It seemed like Houston Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris had almost been traded to at least 23 MLB teams this season. When a deal finally happened — sending Norris to the Baltimore Orioles shortly before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline — it became a joke for baseball’s history book.

Not because it was a bad trade or anything, but because the names were awesome. The Orioles gave the Astros outfielder L.J. Hoes and pitcher Josh Hader in return for Norris, effectively trading bud for hoes. If only Hader’s surname was one letter different, it could have been bud traded for hoes and a hater. It’s nearly a rap song or a Dave Chappelle skit.

Needless to say, the jokes were aplenty:

While the Orioles should be happy to add Norris and his 3.93 ERA to their pitching staff, Houston rappers ought to be happy to have Hoes in town. We’re looking at you, Slim Thug.

 

 

 

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TIGER’S REALTA…IT’S WRONG FOR HIM TO BE ON THE LIST

Tigers’ Peralta: it’s wrong for him to be on list

By LARRY LAGE (AP Sports Writer) | The Associated Press – 1 hour 54 minutes ago

  • Detroit Tigers' Jhonny Peralta prepares to throw out Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)Detroit Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta prepares to throw out Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, …
  • FILE - In this June 29, 2013 file photo, Detroit Tigers' Jhonny Peralta reacts as he ducks away from an inside pitch from Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer during the third inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Major League Baseball has told the union which players it intends to suspend in its drug investigation and which ones will receive lengthier penalties for their roles in the Biogenesis case. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)FILE – In this June 29, 2013 file photo, Detroit Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta reacts as he ducks away from an inside pitch from Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher …
  • Detroit Tigers' Jhonny Peralta (27) and designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) are congratulated by teammate Alex Avila, center, after they scored on a Ramon Santiago double to Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper during the second inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)View PhotoDetroit Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta (27) and designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) are congratulated by teammate Alex Avila, center, after they scored on a …

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Tigers All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta said he shouldn’t be on the list of players linked to the Biogenesis case.

”It’s wrong,” Peralta said Wednesday after hitting a double in Detroit’s 11-1 win over the Washington Nationals. ”But whatever happens, I need to fight and try to move on.”

Before and after the game, which might end up being his last one for a while, Peralta insisted he didn’t not know whether Major League Baseball planned to suspend him.

”I don’t hear nothing yet,” he said.

Detroit doesn’t have a game scheduled Thursday, and discipline is expected to be announced Friday.

”I don’t feel nervous,” Peralta said. ”But yeah, I worry a little bit because I want to play every day here, and I love to be here in Detroit.”

If Peralta is suspended 50 games for first offense under baseball’s drug program, he would lose $1,639,344 of his $6 million salary. Barring rescheduled games, he would not be eligible to play until Sept. 24, leaving him with just five games of the regular season. He would be eligible Sept. 14 for an injury rehab assignment – if any of Detroit’s minor league teams remain in their playoffs.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland wouldn’t even let a reporter finish a question about Peralta’s possible suspension, which would likely make it difficult for him to get into playing shape toward the end of the regular season for a possible postseason run.

”I’m not going to talk about that at all,” Leyland bristled.

Peralta is batting .307 with 10 homers, 53 RBIs and a team-high 29 RBIs in 101 of the team’s 106 games.

”He’s very important to this team,” Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander said. ”He’s obviously had an All-Star- caliber season, and he’s gone out there and played just about every game at shortstop.

”You lose a guy like that, that’s tough. But I can’t comment on how it would go to lose him because I don’t know what the possibilities are.”

Even though Peralta said he needed to ”fight,” he declined to say whether he would appeal a suspension. Peralta would acknowledged being disheartened if he is forced to miss nearly one-third of the season.

”It’s going to be disappointing, but there’s nothing that I can do,” he said.

The AL Central-leading Tigers are trying to finish first in three straight seasons for the first time since 1907-09. They haven’t won the World Series since 1984.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said the team protected itself against a suspension by acquiring slick-fielding infielder Jose Iglesias from Boston in a three-team trade Tuesday night.

”If it were a 15-day thing, like a typical injury, I think we could have comfortably dealt with it with the players we already have,” Dombrowski said. ”But when you start to talk about 50 days and a possible playoff run, we feel better going ahead with Jose.”

Even though there has been speculation for months that Peralta would be suspended, the 31-year-old native of Dominican Republic said he has attempted to not pay attention.

”I try to play baseball every day and try to come in ready to play every day and don’t try to worry,” he said.

MLB has told the union which players it intends to suspend, and the sides are trying to reach as many agreements as possible that would avoid grievance hearings, two people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.

Baseball hopes to announce the penalties for all players involved at the same time, both people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements were authorized. Under baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement, suspensions for violations not caused by a positive test are effective on the third business day after the discipline is issued – another sign pointing to a Friday announcement.

Peralta said he hasn’t talked to anybody about the evidence against him as part of the investigation.

”I don’t talk to nobody,” he said.

SLIME-ROD TO RECEIVE LIFETIME BAN WITHOUT AGREEMENT

Report: Alex Rodriguez to receive lifetime ban without agreement

By               @purplerowBK                 on Jul 31 2013, 5:17pm             Slime-rod could take the whole case to court and win there.  MLB is taking a chance if they do not send A-Slime’s suspension to an arbitrator.  EDB

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USA TODAY Sports
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Judgement day is coming soon for Alex Rodriguez, who will reportedly receive a lifetime ban if he doesn’t agree to a plea deal with MLB.

Major League Baseball is expected to impose a lifetime suspension on New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez if he does not agree to a settlement with the league, according to Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk.

MLB won’t accept anything less than 150 games, according to Calcaterra’s source, and figures that Frederic Horowitz, the arbitrator who would hear the appeal that Rodriguez would almost certainly file, would administer a similar ban even if he overturns a lifetime suspension.

New York Times IDs A-Rod as Biogenesis documents buyer

Is the New York Yankees third baseman trying to suppress evidence of his own guilt?


The league reportedly has “compelling evidence” against Rodriguez, including proof that he suggested the Biogenesis clinic to other players who were thinking about using performance-enhancing drugs. That, combined with Rodriguez’s own history of PED use and his alleged attempt at obtaining and destroying evidence, gives the league fuel to seek a severe penalty against him, despite the fact that Rodriguez is technically a first-time offender.

 

Discipline will likely be levied on Rodriguez and the other players involved in the investigation as soon as Friday, per the source.

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YANKEES CAN STILL MAKE THE PLAOFFS IF THE OFFENSE GETS SOMETHING GOING

published on Yahoo! every day.

New York Yankees Can Still Make Playoffs If Offense Gets Something Going

The Bronx Bombers 12th in the American League in Runs? Say it Ain’t So!

Yahoo! Contributor Network  

By | Yahoo! Contributor Network – 1 hour 56 minutes ago

COMMENTARY | In 1948, the Boston Braves won the National League pennant and adopted the unofficial mantra “Spain and Sain and pray for rain,” referring to aces Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain and an otherwise unspectacular starting rotation.In 2013, the New York Yankees have been more like, “Cano and Brett and no one else hits.”

Brett Gardner, back to full health after missing most of the 2012 season with an elbow injury, has been solid at the top of the Yankees’ order, hitting .281/.348/.421 with seven homers and 57 runs scored in 440 plate appearances. He’s also stolen a team-high 17 bases.

Robinson Cano, meanwhile, has been his usual All-Star self, and he’s done it with little to no protection around him in the batting order. Cano has already been walked 52 times this year, just nine off his career high, and his 14 intentional passes in 2013 matches the career high he set in 2010.

He has 21 homers, 70 RBIs and is hitting .296/.378/.506 in 455 plate appearances.

Thus endeth the Yankees’ 2013 offensive highlight reel.

Cano at 141 and Gardner at 111 are the only Yankees regulars with an OPS-plus better than 100, which is considered average.

But they’ve been the Bronx Bummers just about everywhere else in the order. Through 106 games, the Yankees have been a shell of their usual selves from an injury standpoint. First baseman Mark Teixeira played just 15 games and is out for the rest of the season after having surgery on his balky right wrist. Center fielder Curtis Granderson has played eight games — he did hit 43 homers a year ago, after all — with a broken arm and broken pinky and isn’t expected back until August.

 Shortstop Derek Jeter has played three games because of a broken ankle suffered in last year’s playoffs and a strained quad sustained in his first game back off the disabled list before the All-Star break. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez hasn’t played a game yet and between his battles with Yankee management and the looming suspension coming from Major League Baseball over his alleged involvement with the Biogenesis mess, it’s hard to count on him for much.

 Kevin Youkilis, signed in the offseason as a safety net at both third base and first base, has played just 28 games because of back problems and may not be back at all. Backup shortstop Eduardo Nunez has missed 61 games. Catcher Francisco Cervelli won the starting catching job in spring training, played 17 games, broke his hand, had a setback and now may be shut down in the Biogenesis fallout, as well.

What’s been left has been, for the most part, a hot mess.

Venerable Ichiro Suzuki’s .279/.314/.378 line is far below his career marks of .322/.365/.419 that he had entering the season. Lyle Overbay has been a lifesaver at first base, yet is only hitting .248/.297/.428 and hits lefties at only a .196 clip.

Yankees left fielders, led by Vernon Wells, have hit just .226/.269/.338. The shortstops are at .215/.271/.298 with three homers and 29 RBIs. The third basemen? A major-league worst .215/.274/.286 with four homers and 30 RBIs. Corner infielders are supposed to be a power position; by comparison, the Arizona Diamonbacks’ pitchers have out-homered the Yankee third baseman, 5-4.

And the designated hitters have sort of missed on the whole “hitter” thing, combining for a .207/.291/.353 line with 107 strikeouts in 377 at-bats.

Yet there is hope. Alfonso Soriano was acquired from the Chicago Cubs and has had a homer and four RBIs in his first four games back in pinstripes. Jeter is healthy … finally.

There is enough veteran experience for this team to make a run. They’ve been there before. They just have to remember how to get back to home plate once they leave it.

Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo! Contributor Network and is also editor of brewers101.com and assistant editor of HoopsHabit.com.

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WHAT ELSE IS NWE…METS HAVE NOTHING GOING ON

The Mets have nothing going on

Jul 31, 2013, 12:11 PM EDT

Bobby ParnellAP

For the second year in a row, the Mets are prepared to sit out the trade deadline, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, even as they seem well on their way to a fifth straight sub-.500 season.

The Mets haven’t shown any interest in moving pieces like closer Bobby Parnell and second baseman Daniel Murphy, and the lone veteran they seem open to moving, outfielder Marlon Byrd, isn’t drawing much interest from contender, even though he’s been very useful while hitting .282/.325/.512 with 17 homers in 330 at-bats this season.

While the Mets certainly have their reasons for keeping players like Parnell, Murphy and right-hander Dillon Gee, the fact is that they have to give something to get something. And since they’ve been unable to sign veterans and turn them into summer trade bait, all they really have to barter with is the young-ish players they’ve developed themselves.

ORIOLES ACQUIRE ASTRO’S NORRIS

Orioles acquire Norris from Astros

July 31, 2013, 4:39 pm
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Houston Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris (20) throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in Houston. The Athletics won 4-3. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

BALTIMORE (AP)  The Baltimore Orioles have acquired right-hander Bud Norris from the Houston Astros to help bolster a rotation that will be without injured Jason Hammel for what could be an extended period.

The Orioles are sending outfielder L.J. Hoes and left-handed prospect Josh Hader to the Astros in a deal agreed to moments before Wednesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Hammel is being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor mass strain in his right forearm. He is 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts this season.

The 28-year-old Norris was 6-9 with a 3.93 ERA for the Astros. He was making a club-high $3 million this year. In his fifth big league season, Norris is under team control through 2015. He is 34-46 with a 4.33 ERA.

Hoes is one of the Orioles top prospects. A third round pick in 2008, Hoes was hitting .304 for Triple-A Norfolk.