Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox waves to the crowd after being taken out during the seventh inning of an interleague game against the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park on June 24, 2012. He had just been traded to the White Sox. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
The latest from around baseball ...
- The Boston Red Sox finally succeeded in dumping one-time face of the franchise Kevin Youkilis on the Chicago White Sox in exchange for pitcher Zach Stewart, utility man Brent Lillibridge, and a couple million bucks in salary relief. The return is obviously negligible for the former All-Star, but the Red Sox were completely backed into a corner. With the emergence of top young third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and with Youkilis's terrible start to this season (he's hitting just .225/.311/.359, and scouts say he looks every bit that bad this year), the Sawx couldn't expect to get much for him. Still, you wonder how much of the weak return is due to the bad performance, and how much is due to the obvious need to sell. Youkilis is still just 33, and, although he started to show signs of decline last year, could still have some productive years left. Even "bad" Youkilis is a dramatic upgrade at third base for the White Sox, who've barely been able to muster a .450 OPS at third base so far this season.
- MLB's arcane blackout rules (a favorite topic of Al's) are going to get a once over in the court system, and Yahoo's Jeff Passan has a nice write-up/take-down of the entire system.
- R.A. Dickey's absurd streak of awesomeness finally came to an end last night when the Yankees touched him up for five earned runs in his six innings of work. Dickey's streak of 44.2 innings without giving up an earned run came to an end, well short of Orel Hershiser's increasingly-impressive 59 inning (plus another eight in the playoffs) streak. Such is the fickle nature of even an excellent knuckleball - sometimes it's just hittable.
- As always, there are injuries aplenty around the league, including Mets closer Frank Francisco (strained oblique), Twins closer Matt Capps (sore shoulder), Diamondbacks starter Joe Saunders (strained shoulder), and Red Sox starter Clay Buchholtz (intestinal bleeding).
- Roy Oswalt made his season debut for the Rangers this weekend, and it was a good one: 6.2 innings, 9 hits, 1 BB, 1 R, 6 K. He got the win, and, more importantly for the Rangers, he looked about as solid as he did last year. His fastball was still in the low 90s, which is a good sign.
- Uber-prospect Trevor Bauer will likely make his big league debut on Thursday for the Diamondbacks. The 21-year-old righty was the third overall pick in last year's draft, and has been obliterating the minors ever since. He'll likely be taking Joe Saunders' spot in the rotation for now.
- In sad news, Padres' bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds has passed away after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 50. Thoughts and condolences go out to his family, and to the Padres organization.