From 1998 through 2004, I shared a 40-game Yankee season ticket package with my friend Refet. Every time Mariano Rivera briskly jogged in from the bullpen, we'd set an over-under on how many pitches he'd throw (usually something like 8.5), with a bonus for breaking bats (he did that a lot). More than any other player I've admired, Rivera was a joy to watch, mainly because he was so ridiculously efficient and never seemed to break a sweat.
We watched Rivera close out World Series titles against the Braves and Mets, along with countless other games. I saw him pitch three amazing, clutch scoreless innings in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox. Refet eventually got married, had a son, and gave him the middle name "Rivera." Last night, when I saw the video of Rivera's batting-practice injury, I worried and fidgeted until I saw Joe Girardi's postgame press conference. When Girardi announced that Rivera has a torn ACL in his right knee - which will probably end his season - I got sad. Later, I saw a teary-eyed Rivera speak to the media, and ... well, I just don't like baseball right now.
During the spring, the 42-year-old Rivera hinted at retiring after this season. I don't know if that's still the case, but I don't want his career to end like this. I don't think I'm ready, but maybe I never will be.
Anyway, you can drop Rivera in redraft leagues. Girardi hasn't named Rivera's replacement yet, but David Robertson (owned in 16 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) is a more likely choice than Rafael Soriano (6 percent owned). Grab K-Rob in all formats, and if you're in an AL-only league, Soriano is worth a flier.
Also, we often talk here about not drafting closers early because they're unreliable. Rivera was the exception to that rule, and now he's gone. There's nobody left to really trust. Remember that next March.
Jeff Niemann's win and five strikeouts made his Thursday game a modest success, raising our streaming starter record to 22-10 for the season. The weekend selections are Padres' rookie Anthony Bass (10.1 percent owned) against the Marlins tonight in PETCO; Pittsburgh's James McDonald (1.6 percent owned) against the Reds on Saturday; and reliable Met knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8.3 percent owned) against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
On to the rest of the news:
- Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after fracturing a hamate bone in his right hand. Rookie Conor Gillaspie (.362 BA, three homers, .939 OPS at Triple A this season) will get most of the playing time in Sandoval's place; he can be grabbed in NL-only leagues, and maybe some deep mixed formats. Chris Davis (49.6 percent owned) and Jed Lowrie (40.6 percent owned) are available in many standard mixed leagues, with Wilson Betemit (0.7 percent owned) as a deeper option.
- Cubs closer Carlos Marmol is on thin ice in Chicago after Thursday's walk-filled performance. Manager Dale Sveum cited James Russell and Rafael Dolis as potential replacements, but I still think Kerry Wood might come into play here. Also, with regard to Marmol, didn't someone around here write in the preseason that his horrible control would piss off his new manager at some point? Oh, right, it was me.
- Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche might miss two or three games due to an oblique injury.
- The Brandon Morrow breakout train is picking up steam.
- Tigers OF Delmon Young will be activated tonight, but won't be in the lineup. Coincidentally, it's Jewish-American Night at Comerica Park! OK, it's not, but I wish it was.
- The Angels have acquired reliever Ernesto Frieri from the Padres in exchange for two minor leaguers. Frieri has a 2.33 career ERA and 137 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings, but as an extreme flyball pitcher leaving PETCO Park, those numbers are going to get worse. AL-only owners can look at Frieri as a decent setup reliever, but don't blow much of your FAAB budget on him.
- Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen left Thursday's game with a stomach flu. His status for today is TBD.
- Looking to speculate on a long-term closer? Check out this article on A's RP Ryan Cook.
- Indians DH Travis Hafner missed Thursday's game with a sore knee, but he should be fine today.
- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen apparently hasn't decided what to do about his team's shaky closer situation. Steve Cishek is the pickup if you want to bet on a job change.
- The Red Sox don't seem to have any idea when OF Carl Crawford will return to the lineup. What a mess.
See you back here Monday morning.
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