As the calendar has shifted to August, Major League Baseball playoff races are heating up in both leagues. The only division race that appears to be wrapped up is the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central. A large majority of playoff contending teams are trying to get their teams fully healthy for a stretch run.
Chris Sale to Return on Sunday
Red Sox ace, Chris Sale is expected to be activated on Sunday to start for the Boston Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles. Sale has been on on the disabled list since July 28 with left shoulder inflammation. The veteran lefty was dominant in the last nine starts before he landed on the disabled list. He went 6-1 with a 0.75 earned run average in those starts for the first place Boston Red Sox. The American League All-Star Game starting pitcher is 11-4 and leads the AL with a 2.07 ERA this season. The return of Sale should keep the Red Sox ahead of the Yankees in the AL East, a division they currently lead by nine games.
Jacoby Ellsbury Out For Season
Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will miss the remainder of the 2018 season, after undergoing hip surgery to repair a torn labrum. The Yankees announced that the surgery performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly was a success. It is anticipated that Ellsbury will miss approximately 6 months, but should be back for the start of the 2019 season. Ellsbury, 34, is still under contract with the Yankees for two more seasons, and will make approximately $21 million a season. The veteran has not appeared in a game for the Yankees this season, and is the third highest paid player on the roster. The Yankees continue to trail the Boston Red Sox in the American League East standings.
Cancer Survivors Battle on Tuesday Night
A pair of National League pitchers who survived testicular cancer are set to battle on Tuesday night in Colorado. The Pirates Jameson Taillon and the Rockies Chad Bettis both dealt with testicular cancer last season, but both made a quick return to the Major Leagues. Bettis will be activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday night’s game, after dealing with a blister issue for the better part of a month. The Rockies pitcher underwent chemotherapy during spring training in 2016 after it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. He returned to the Major Leagues last August for the Rockies. Taillon’s cancer was discovered last May, but he missed just six weeks after surgery removed the cancer.
Indians Unveil All-Star Game Logo
The Cleveland Indians unveiled the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game logo on Tuesday, and rock and roll played a big part in the design. The Indians unveiled a red-white-blue guitar that was outlined with red baseball stitching. The Indians will host the 2019 All-Star Game which will take place on July 9th. This will be the sixth time that the Indians have hosted the Midsummer Classic, which is the most by any MLB team. Next season is the 25th anniversary of Progressive Field, but was the site of the 1997 game when the stadium was named Jacobs Field. Cleveland is considered the birthplace of rock and roll, and the logo represents that.
Ankiel Eyeing MLB Comeback
Former St. Louis Cardinals star Rick Ankiel announced on Monday night that he will be attempting a comeback in 2019. Ankiel made this announcement while being a part of the Fox Sports Midwest broadcast of the Cardinals and Marlins game. The 39 year old has not played in the Major Leagues since 2013, but last pitched in the big leagues in 2004. Ankiel finished as the runner up in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2000 as a top of the rotation starter for the Cardinals. He was tabbed as the game 1 starter in the NLDS and NLCS that season, but a case of the “yips” derailed his pitching career. Ankiel threw five wild pitches in one inning in his postseason debut, and finished the 2000 postseason with 11 walks in four innings. He eventually transitioned to the outfield, and turned himself into an above average big league outfielder. Ankiel will be making his comeback as a pitcher in 2019.