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July and August, 2010

8/27/10: Strasburg Has Significant Tear in Elbow Ligament - The Washington Nationals announced today that Stephen Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, which will almost certainly require Tommy John surgery. The normal recovery time for the procedure is about 12 months, so the National phenom will likely miss all of the 2011 season.

Strasburg made 12 starts this year and never threw as many as 100 pitches in any of them. He went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and a remarkable 92/17 K/BB ratio in 68 innings.

8/4/2010 - And Then There Were Seven - Alex Rodriguez snapped his 12-game homerless streak Wednesday with a first-inning blast off of Shaun Marcum of the Toronto Blue Jays. Rodriguez becomes just the seventh player in major league history - and at 35 years old, the youngest ever - to reach 600 home runs. It took him 46 at-bats to reach #600 after hitting #599 on July 22, the longest drought for any player between those two milestones.

In the past ten years, the 600-Homer Club has more than doubled its membership from three players to seven. Or to put it another way, in the first century of modern Major League Baseball, only three players achieved the 600-homer milestone. In the past decade, four players have accomplished the feat.

Who's next? Among active players, Jim Thome is nearest to 600 with 577 career dingers while Manny Ramirez isn't far behind at 554. No other active player is within 150 home runs of the milestone.

07/26/2010: First No-Hitter in Rays History - After being no-hit three times in 12 months, the Tampa Bay Rays were in danger of being held hitless yet again Monday night as the resurgent Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth against them. Matt Joyce broke up that no-no with a grand slam after Scherzer had walked the bases loaded, and the no-hit bid that Rays starter Matt Garza had going lasted all nine innings.

This was the fifth no-hitter of 2010 (or sixth if you count the Armando Galarraga game) and the second time this year that a franchise authored its first ever no-hitter. The record for most no-hitters in a season came in 1991, when seven were tossed, but only six went for the full nine innings.

7/20/10: Lou Makes It Official - Cubs manager Lou Piniella has made it official that his 23rd managerial season will be his last. Piniella will finish the 2010 season as skipper of the Cubs and intends to continue to work as a consultant for a major league team, but currently at 1,826 career wins, Lou's bid for the 2,000 win milestone is guaranteed to fall short. He is nevertheless an obvious Hall of Fame manager, with being the first Cubs manager since Leo Durocher (1970-72) to lead the franchise to three straight winning seasons and and the first since Frank Chance (1907-08) to lead the Cubs to consecutive playoff appearances as the latest in a long line of accolades.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has confirmed that Jim Hendry will be the Cubs' general manager heading into the 2011 season and that Hendry will be leading the search for Lou's replacement. Hendry would only reveal that Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, who has been managing in the minor leagues for the past four seasons, was a candidate, and that the Cubs would explore both internal and external options for the position, plus that previous MLB managerial experience was not a prerequisite. The speculation at Baseball Evolution, however, is that Ryno is the obvious frontrunner for this vacancy.

7/19/2010: Ubaldo Redman? - After Jonathan Herrera's first major league home run capped a four-run comeback in the 8th for Colorado Monday night, Donnie Murphy's pinch-hit 2-run shot won it for the Marlins in the bottom of the ninth. Florida topped the Rockies 9-8 as Ubaldo Jimenez allowed six runs (four earned) in 5.1 innings to see his season ERA rise to 2.38. While that mark would lead the American League, it is only good for fourth-best in the senior circuit. Ubaldo's ERA over his last seven starts is 5.20, and he suddenly seems as good of a candidate for the Mark Redman Award as he does the Cy Young. The Colorado comeback did preserve his 15-1 record, however.

The Texas Rangers have acquired left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee from the Mariners along with injured pitcher Mark Lowe and $2.25 million in cash considerations for first baseman Justin Smoak and prospects Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, and Matt Lawson. Smoak was the only one of those four prospects ranked among the top 14 in the Rangers' organization by this winter, and he currently sports a .670 OPS while playing half his games in a hitter's park. You have to wonder whether the Mariners got enough in return for Lee, particularly since they needed to include cash in the deal.

Asher's Take

July 1, 2010 - A Ballplayer's Inside View - Upon learning that Doug Glanville had written a book revealing the hidden life of a baseball player and the social mores surrounding the game, the first question that popped to mind was, "Why hasn't anyone written this before?" After reading The Game From Where I Stand, it's hard to believe that anyone else would have made it work so well as Glanville did.

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