Category Archives: Baseball

Root’s landmark day flays Australia

England 333-5 (Root 178*, Bell 74) and 361 lead Australia 128 by 566 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Joe Root acknowledges his first half-century of the series, England v Australia, 2nd Investec Test, Lord's, 3rd day, July 20, 2013

Joe Root bided his time in the afternoon before moving to 178 after tea, showing all of his ability © Getty Images

Joe Root has shown an ability to adapt to any given match situation in his brief international career. The brief for England on a Lord’s Saturday was to take the heat out of the game and bat Australia into oblivion. And so Root did. Around the time that Australia were conscious only of the fact that there was no hope, he raised his bat to celebrate a maiden Test hundred as an England opener.

“Grind them down, Joe” would have been the message and so Joe did. If an occasional back-foot drive was reminiscent of Michael Vaughan, in the first two sessions there was a touch of Geoffrey Boycott in his fastidiousness.

The benefits then accrued in a rush as England, who made 141 off 58 overs in the first two sessions, piled up a further 162 in 32 overs after tea. Root’s well-structured 97 blossomed into an unbeaten 178 which left his quality incontestable. England closed the third day with a lead of 566. No side has chased that to win in the fourth innings in the history of first-class cricket. Australia were not thinking about it. They were just thinking about bed.

Root took five-and-three-quarter hours for his hundred, poring over it so intently that he might have replaced his helmet with gown and mortar board. He, too, has been in his year of graduation, and now he has emerged with honours, stilling the discussion surrounding his supplanting of Nick Compton as opener at the start of the Investec Ashes series.

If he had been caught on Friday evening on 8, when wicketkeeper, Brad Haddin, and first slip Michael Clarke left the catch to each other, life might have felt different. Instead, once his hundred had been achieved and with England looking for impetus in the final session, he gambolled along, his inventiveness at its height, particularly against the left-arm spin of Ashton Agar.

Australia’s quicks had shouldered a heavy workload over the past 11 days and, with Root’s hundred settled eight balls after the new ball was available, Clarke chose not to take it to spare his quicks further punishment. It became an increasingly perplexing call. Root and Ian Bell became increasingly carefree until a stand of 153 came to grief when Bell, on 74, hauled a long hop from Steve Smith to midwicket.

Australia were aggrieved that Bell, when only 3, had not fallen to a catch by Smith at gully when Ryan Harris forced the edge. The umpires handed it to the TV umpire, Tony Hill, to determine if the ball had carried. It was a tough decision, as there was the vaguest suspicion that the ball might have burst through Smith’s hands, but the foreshortening of a TV lens notoriously can make good catches seem illegal and it was probably out.

If Clarke was to bowl spinners so avidly, he could have done with a proven one. As Agar and Smith bowled in tandem, it felt like an educative process, the teaming up of a fledgling slow left-armer and a legspinner who has largely shelved the craft while putting more emphasis on his batting. There is nothing wrong with education. It just felt odd that it should be taking place in the middle of an Ashes series.

Australia’s three-wicket burst at the close of the second day had lifted heartbeats, but as the match progressed past its mid-point, they were searching for a pulse. In the first two sessions, they took only one wicket, that of the nightwatchman, Tim Bresnan, who flat-batted a pull against James Pattinson to midwicket, a reward for Pattinson, who had made the previous ball rear awkwardly.

Bresnan’s batting and bowling statistics have declined markedly since his elbow operation, but he is having a decent Test. Two successive boundaries against Siddle possessed some fortune – an edge in front of Phil Hughes at third slip and a leg-side clip – but Australia were unable to maintain the threat.

Australia’s collapse to 128 all out on the second day had been inexplicable, but the quick loss of three England wickets to the new ball had left the slightest unease. The ball was turning, and would turn more, and there was occasional uneven bounce, but nothing untoward. Root’s response was faultless.

Only in the final session as the pace of the pitch lessened and the bounce of the ball became more erratic did it become a more challenging surface for batting and by then England’s batsman were in the mood to disregard it.

England’s nightwatchman tactics do not please everybody, but twice in this Test their logic has been hard to fault. In the first innings, the use of James Anderson as a nightwatchman to protect Stuart Broad, a No . 9, was felt by some to be risible, but Broad and Graeme Swann embarked upon a crowd-pleasing last-wicket stand which lifted England’s mood.

As Root walked onto the Lord’s outfield on Saturday morning, it seemed shrewd that this time the nightwatchman should be Bresnan, a fellow Yorkshireman able to offer a few words of counsel if his mood ran away itself, and with enough credentials with the bat to have the chance of making a contribution of his own.

England settled carefully. It was six overs before Root risked a cover drive against James Pattinson, not entirely securely. Pattinson, who has struggled to settle to the vagaries of the Lord’s slope, had a much more solid day. But Root met everything judiciously. Australia, recognising his strength on the back foot, sought to draw him forward, but two easeful straight drives against Siddle had suggested by lunch that his weaknesses are merely comparative.

In the afternoon, he batted time. But he is a calculating batsman behind that smile and he would have liked his hundred before tea. Clarke challenged him to do just that in the last over before the break when he introduced the legspin of Smith. A cut boundary took him to 96, Agar dived at extra cover to prevent another boundary and he could only hack a full toss to mid-off. There had been no over with such incident all day.

Back out again he came after tea, on 97. Shane Watson made one leap, Agar made one creep out of the footholds. Smith made a great diving stop at gully. Root grinned at the fun of it all. Then he cut Agar to reach his hundred. Immediately, the shackles were off and a quietly appreciative crowd sensed that things had become more frolicsome. In the penultimate over, he rounded things off by twice heaving Smith over midwicket for six, any inhibitions of the morning long since cast aside.

Soon after his hundred, a member of the MCC groundstaff brought him a drink. It was his brother, Billy, not a bad player himself apparently. They shook hands formally and then broke into a quick hug. Life is going your way when the family can stroll on to congratulate you during a Lord’s Test match Saturday.


Report: Yasiel Puig being sued

Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig is being sued for $12 million by a man in Cuba who claims Puig made false allegations against him that resulted in a seven-year prison sentence, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Lawyers for Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot filed the suit in federal district court in Florida, according to the paper. The suit claims that Corbacho Daudinot was subjected to “prolonged arbitrary detention and torture” after Puig and his mother testified against him in a 2010 human-trafficking trial that centered around Puig’s alleged plan to escape from Cuba.

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The complaint also refers to Puig and his mother as “informants” for the government.

“This is not something we’re going to comment about,” Jaime Torres, Puig’s agent, told the newspaper.

Torres added that Puig is aware of the lawsuit and has hired a lawyer.

Lawyers representing Corbacho Daudinot, who remains in Cuba, filed similar lawsuits last year against Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman on the behalf of different plaintiffs, the paper reported.

Puig has been a huge spark for the resurgent Dodgers since making his major league debut on June 3, batting .381 with eight homers and 19 RBIs entering Saturday.

Next week targeted for A-Rod return


NEW YORK — If all goes according to plan, Alex Rodriguez will complete his minor league rehab this weekend and join the New York Yankees in Texas early next week.

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“That’s the hope,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a phone conversation Wednesday. “We’ll see through the weekend. We started the 20-day rehab and once we felt he could complete the 20 days and be available to us in Texas. So let’s get through the weekend and see where he is at and see if he is major league able.”

Cashman said the Yankees could activate Rodriguez on Monday in Texas or give him an additional day off and push his first game to Tuesday.

“We have to get through the weekend, and then we will evaluate it,” Cashman said.

If the Yankees were to decide that Rodriguez wasn’t ready to return, he would remain on the disabled list. He would then work out for a period of time before going on another rehab assignment.

Rodriguez, who will turn 38 in less than two weeks, is trying to return from a second hip surgery. He has not played in a major league game since the 2012 postseason in which he went 3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts. He was pinch-hit for and benched during the playoffs.

Ten games into his rehab stint, Rodriguez is 5-for-28 with one home run and six strikeouts. Beginning Thursday, Rodriguez will move to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“We’re on schedule,” Rodriguez said Wednesday morning.

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Rodriguez just worked out Wednesday morning but said he felt fit enough to appear in a game.

“After playing four straight games, seven or eight plus innings, and being able to play today if I had to, that’s a great sign,” he said.

Rodriguez said he has checked off every box on his rehab, except breaking up a double play.

Looming above all of Rodriguez’s future plans is the Biogenesis scandal. Rodriguez is expected to be suspended when the penalties come down. There is no set date when they will be announced, though they are expected at some point in the second half of the season.

However, players’ association executive director Michael Weiner said the appeal process may take long enough that suspensions would not take place until 2014.

If that were the case, it may help the Yankees with their goal of getting under $189 million to take advantage of financial incentives in the collective bargaining agreement.

For every 50 games that Rodriguez would be suspended, the Yankees would save around $7.5 million.

Clay Buchholz has another setback

BOSTON — Any optimism that Clay Buchholz soon would be returning to the mound faded Thursday after Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that because of lingering soreness that resurfaced on the team’s West Coast trip, Buchholz’s scheduled bullpen session was scratched.

Instead, Buchholz is now slated to be re-examined Friday by team orthopedist Peter Asnis.

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Buchholz has not undergone an MRI since June 27; the team said he had bursitis in his right shoulder, but no structural damage. The Red Sox had been encouraged by Buchholz’s progress, with Farrell talking last weekend about his starter nearing the point where he would throw a simulated game, then go on a rehab assignment.

But that schedule has been blown apart after Sunday’s bullpen session in Oakland, when Buchholz complained of continuing soreness. Instead of playing catch Tuesday in New York, where he made an appearance as a member of the American League All-Star team, Buchholz did not pick up a baseball.

“We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season,” Farrell said Thursday, when the Red Sox held a voluntary workout. “I wish I could give you an exact date, to be honest with you. And Clay would, too.”

Buchholz, who was hosting a charity bowling event Thursday night, has pitched just twice since May 22 for a total of 11 2/3 innings. He has been diagnosed at various times in the past five weeks with irritation of the AC joint and a strained trapezius muscle, both of which come into play for a pitcher in his windup and delivery.

“There’s no one more frustrated in this than Clay, and that needs to be made clear,” Farrell said. “He’s a strong competitor, he recognizes the situation we’re in and he wants to be on the mound. That’s the bottom line. But at the same time, his body’s telling him one thing.”

At the moment, Farrell said, Buchholz is not scheduled for an MRI. The hope, Farrell said, is Buchholz will be able to resume a throwing program, but acknowledged he will return to throwing off flat ground.

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“Once he got on the mound, and whether it was consecutive outings or consecutive work sessions of that intensity, that’s where he felt like things were starting to take a step back a little bit,” Farrell said of Buchholz’s bullpen sessions on the West Coast. “And as a result, that’s why there was some additional anti-inflammatory medication given. Just trying to get him past that plateau that he’s hit.”

Buchholz had been Boston’s best pitcher this season, going 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts. After his start May 22 against the White Sox in Chicago, he complained of discomfort that at the time he blamed on falling asleep with his toddler daughter on his shoulder. The injury was described as irritation of the AC joint, which is at the top of the shoulder.

He came back and made two more starts, both wins — a rain-shortened affair in which he pitched five scoreless innings against the Yankees on June 2, then 6 2/3 innings against the Angels on June 8, in which he gave up two runs on six hits. But he wound up on the DL after that start with what was initially diagnosed as a strained trapezius muscle. When he was unable to complete a bullpen session nearly three weeks later, he had an MRI, which revealed the bursitis.

The battle of Shane Victorino

If only they knew how far he’s come.

Now that he’s a major league ballplayer, a World Series hero, a three-time Gold Glove winner and a two-time All-Star, the narrative of Shane Victorino‘s life has morphed into something like this: fleet-footed outfielder, battle-tested veteran, welcome addition to the clubhouse.

He’s already a Red Sox fan favorite, a whirling dervish of hustle and emotion who hurtles into walls, fences, front-row seats — anything that stands in the way of catching the ball.

The Flyin’ Hawaiian, they call him. Sometimes, when a ball is belted to right field, Victorino knows there’s probably no play to be made, that he should just let it go.

But he just can’t.

“That’s the way I play the game,” Victorino said with a shrug, “the only way I know how to play the game.”

Victorino In the first eight years of his life, his mother surmises, Shane Victorino made 10 visits to the emergency room and amassed more than 30 stitches.

Sometimes he tracks the ball down (Torii Hunter’s foul fly in early June, his sliding catch of Jose Reyes’ liner in late June). Sometimes, he doesn’t (Emilio Bonifacio’s home run in mid-May). Either way, his teammates and manager brace themselves for the inevitable collision at warp speed.

It was no different when he played for the Phillies. In 2007, the year before he helped lead Philadelphia to a World Series title, the bases were loaded when Eric Bruntlett of the Astros hooked a ball to right field. Victorino, a former Hawaii state sprinting champion, barreled full tilt in pursuit and dove headfirst into the stands.

It was a spectacular effort — except he didn’t come up with the ball and narrowly escaped serious injury.

“Afterward, my teammates were saying to me, ‘What the hell are you doing? You’re going to split your head open. Don’t be stupid,'” Victorino said. “When I go for a ball like that, consciously I know I probably shouldn’t, but I get caught up in the moment. I’ve always been that way.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I get fired up pretty easily.”

As an infant, Victorino tossed baby powder in his father’s face as he tried to change his son’s diaper.

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When he became a toddler, he stood atop his toy Tonka truck wielding a baseball bat, smashing a line of vases his mother had carefully placed on the mantel.

Each morning, when he woke up, he jumped on the bed, jumping and jumping and jumping until he smashed his temple on the ceiling or fell off and landed on his Tonka truck, adding another gash to his little face.

“He was a cuckoo bird,” said his mother, Joycelyn Victorino, sighing. “So sweet, but so much trouble.”

In the first eight years of his life, his mother surmises, Victorino made 10 visits to the emergency room and amassed more than 30 stitches.

There was the time he cut his finger on one of the vases he smashed. There was the time he was driving with his aunt, bouncing around in the back seat, unable to sit still. When his aunt stopped short at a red light, Shane, who had ripped off his seat belt, fell forward into the metal ashtray.

When Shane was 4, he wanted to show his mother he could ride a two-wheeler. He bombed down the driveway, waved to his mom, lost control — and came up with a spoke sticking out of his ear.

[+] EnlargeRamon Ramirez and Shane Victorino

AP Photo/Ben MargotVictorino admits that sometimes his temper still gets the best of him. Here, when he played for the Phillies, he is restrained after being hit by a pitch.

Victorino had been in preschool just two months when the director called the house.

“You gotta pick this boy up,” the director said. “He’s hitting the other kids. He’s too disruptive.”

Joycelyn tried another school, then another. Something was amiss with her youngest son. She finally placed him in a Maui special-learning center.

“I was embarrassed to put him in a school like that,” Joycelyn said, “but I had to put my pride aside.”

The assessment concluded everything his mother had already feared: Shane was belligerent, uncooperative. He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. His condition required medication, counseling and, most of all, patience.

That was an impossible order for a fidgety, active little boy who didn’t comprehend why he couldn’t contain himself.

“It was frustrating for me,” Victorino said. “I didn’t understand why I’d get so upset and act out the way I did and not realize the consequences of what was going on.”

His father tried to reason with him. “If something bad happens, move on from it,” Mike Victorino Sr. advised. “Put it behind you.”

His mother collected as much data as she could on ADHD. She consulted psychiatrists and asked for help from Shane’s teachers and coaches. She wanted to understand why a little boy would be riding in the car and inexplicably decide to open the door. (Naturally, he fell out, triggering another emergency room visit and another sleepless night for the Victorinos.)

Shane was bombing down the hill on his scooter with his brother, Mike Jr., one afternoon without paying any attention to the oncoming traffic. A woman struck him with her car, and Victorino was so distraught that his parents would be mad he popped up and tried to run off. The woman called the police, who called an ambulance, which chased him through the streets.

“It was a battle,” Victorino conceded. “I wasn’t an easy kid, and my parents tried so hard to help me.

“It’s not someone I wanted to be. I was born with it, and it took a lot of time and effort, particularly from my mom, to figure out how to help me.”

Athletics were a welcome release yet often were the backdrop to another spasm of frustration. He couldn’t corral his emotions, which, unbridled, caused carnage at every turn.

[+] EnlargeVictorino

Yoon S. Byun/Getty ImagesOne of Victorino’s many sliding catches — this time, a Jose Reyes bomb — in right field this season for the Sox.

Kevin O’Brien, who would later become one of Victorino’s football coaches at St. Anthony’s High School in Maui, got a call one afternoon from Charlie Ane, a legendary sports figure on the island. Ane was born in Hawaii and was a multisport star. He played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions in the ’50s and won two championships.

“Charlie told me, ‘You’ve got to come to this middle school basketball game with me,'” O’Brien said. “‘You’ve got to see this kid.'”

“You mean your grandson?” O’Brien asked.

“No,” Ane answered. “The Victorino kid.”

Shane and Ane’s grandson Keola dominated the game. By the time Keola grabbed the rebound, Victorino was already halfway up the court, ready to convert a fast-break bucket. His timing was impeccable, his athleticism as explosive as his temper.

“He had a tantrum while I was watching that game,” said O’Brien. “The coach took him out for a second, but it didn’t last long. He needed him in the game.

“Shane was a controversial figure in Maui. Many thought he was cocky, arrogant, out of control. But they all wanted a piece of him, because he was so good at everything.”

His mother knew his tender side, his willingness to come after games, still in uniform, and help her with her second job — cleaning office buildings — until well after midnight. At home, she saw a thoughtful boy who would go on to be an Eagle scout, who knew how to balance a checkbook by the time he was 15.

But most simply saw a poor sport with a horrendous attitude who teetered on the brink of disaster.

Victorino was desperate to keep pace with older brother Mike, four and a half years older than him, and when he couldn’t, he resorted to pushing, kicking, punching, even biting.

“He hated losing,” Mike said. “He got kicked out of just about every sport in every league because of his temper.”

One year, when his father was the director of the soccer program, Shane scored a goal, flipped off the parents of the opposing team and tried to pick a fight with its coach.

Soon, both benches emptied, with voices escalating and fists flying.

“I started a brawl,” Victorino said. “It was terrible.

“Most of the time, I was a soft-hearted kid, but when I got into one of those tirades, I let it all out, and it would go to levels it never should have.”

Ane, the head coach at St. Anthony’s High School who boasted the résumé Shane craved, was one of the few coaches who would sit Victorino when he acted up. O’Brien, Ane’s assistant, also worked closely with Victorino, stressing, above all, self-discipline.

[+] EnlargeShane Victorino

Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesVictorino appears to have found the perfect home with the Red Sox. Here, he’s mobbed after he knocked in the winning run in the ninth inning against the Blue Jays at Fenway.

“I loved Shane,” O’Brien said. “He was a pain in the butt, but he was fun to coach, a tremendous challenge. When you got him directed in the right way, he was great.

“There was no one else like him.”

Victorino’s exceptional speed and dexterity left coaches tugging at him from all sides. He played soccer, football, basketball and baseball and ran track and field. In his senior season, he won the state championship in the 100, 200 and 400 meters; his 100-meter time of 10.8 seconds remains the state record.

The baseball stadium was adjacent to the track, so once the game ended, Victorino would sprint through the parking lot to the track, shedding his glove, uniform and cleats as he went.

“My parents would be running behind picking up all his stuff,” said Mike Victorino.

His mother allowed the sports as long as Shane kept meeting with his doctors and counselors. The battle for self-control continued, with many potholes along the path to maturity.

“Shane liked to talk,” O’Brien said. “He liked to yell at people. He liked to think he knew better than you. It was hard for him to hear, ‘No, we’re doing it this way.’

“The thing was, he could make up for a lot of his mistakes because of his athleticism.”

Victorino played wing back and defensive back, returned kicks and punted. One day in practice, Ane instructed the team what to do when there was a bad snap punting out of the end zone. The choices included taking a safety or trying to knock the ball out of the end zone.

“So the bad snap comes back, and Shane tries to field it like a shortstop,” O’Brien said. “The ball takes a funny hop and it’s about two feet off the ground, and then somehow Shane kicks it out of midair.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. The ball took off like a rocket ship.”

By the time Victorino was a senior, O’Brien, who was also his world history teacher, went to all of the kid’s games, “because I knew it would be over soon, and I didn’t want to miss it.”

He saw Victorino, a forward in soccer, dribble to the far right corner with three defenders in pursuit then somehow, some way, come out with the ball. He saw him dominate a game against a school twice the size of St. Anthony’s, but not before he drew a yellow card, then a red card, which meant an automatic ejection.

As he moved to the sideline, Victorino angrily ripped off his jersey. Joycelyn covered her face. She couldn’t bear to watch anymore.

She half expected to hear the roar of another dustup, but … nothing. When she finally looked up, her son was sitting on the sideline, talking with his coach.

“That was a turning point, not only for me but my family,” Victorino said. “It was such a relief to know I could keep myself in check.”

The years have come and gone. Victorino became a Major League Baseball star, beloved in Philadelphia as much for his community service as for the National League Championship Series Game 2 grand slam he hit off CC Sabathia or the clutch World Series Game 5 hit with the bases loaded.

He is still on medication for ADHD and keeps in touch with his doctors regularly. In recent years, he’s even become a spokesman for the disease.

There are flare-ups from time to time. In August, while still playing center field for the Phillies, Victorino was ejected after waving his hands in disgust over strikes called by umpire Ed Rapuano. It was a bizarre scene, to see Victorino tossed from the outfield, and he took responsibility afterward, confessing, “I let my emotions get the best of me.”

“I can still see evidence of it when I follow him,” said O’Brien. “But it’s a credit to Shane, and especially his family, that’s he’s been as successful as he has. It’s been a long road for him.”

Earlier this season, Victorino attempted a diving catch that got away from him. The play was ruled a double, and when Ryan Dempster balked, the runner advanced to third.

“So one of the fans stands up and yells, ‘Yeah, way to go, Victorino, way to catch the ball!” Victorino said.

[+] EnlargeVictorino

AP Photo/Winslow TownsonVictorino’s adventures in the outfield have caused him to miss 33 of the team’s 97 games. “That’s the way I play the game,” he says, “the only way I know how to play the game.”

He could feel his blood rising, the anger building, his heart pounding. But at 32 years old, now a husband and a father, he knows now how to convert that adrenaline into something positive.

“I tried to make a diving catch in the gap,” Victorino said. “I’m thinking, ‘Really, buddy? You got a problem with that?’ That kind of stuff really drives me.

“So now I’m thinking, ‘You wait, pal. You wait until the next one is hit out here. You’ll see.’

“The dugouts are so close to the field here in Boston. Some guys hate that. Me? I love it. I want those fans right up on us. One of the reasons I came to Boston is because I wanted to be part of that, of everyone in the whole stadium singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ and everybody getting all fired up about whatever play is being made, or even not made.

“Bring it on. It’s great here.”

Victorino is batting .290 for a Red Sox team that is in first place in the division as August approaches. His adventures in the outfield have caused him to miss 33 of the team’s 97 games, but, manager John Farrell conceded last week, “I can’t tell him not to play as hard as he does.”

“This group has a chance to be special,” said Victorino. “They remind me of our great Phillies teams. We grind it out, 27 outs. We’re going to get right in your face. We might lose, but we’re coming for you, even when we’re down nine runs.”

These days, O’Brien is a coach and a teacher at Kamehameha High School in Honolulu. He is also a part-time bartender and loves to strike up conversations with his patrons about his former player.

“The thing you kept hearing was how the Red Sox went out and got character guys,” O’Brien said. “And whenever that’s said, Shane’s name comes up.

“It makes me so proud. And I know it would make Coach Ane proud too.”

Charlie Ane died in 2007 after a long illness. Victorino can still hear him saying, “I was where you want to go. Listen and you’ll learn something.”

Consider it done.

Robinson Cano leaves All-Star Game

NEW YORK — Even in the All-Star Game, the New York Yankees can’t avoid injuries.

American League starting second baseman Robinson Cano was forced to leave the game Tuesday in the first inning after being hit by a 96 mph Matt Harvey fastball square on the right leg.

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X-rays were negative, and it was announced as a contused right quad. Cano said he is hopeful he can play when the Yankees begin the second half in Boston on Friday.

“It is tight a little bit,” Cano said.

After being attended to by AL manager Jim Leyland and trainers, Cano originally stayed in the game.

At the conclusion of the next at-bat, Cano took himself out. Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia replaced him as a pinch runner.

As Cano left the field, Harvey said, “My bad,” according to Cano. Cano told him, “No problem.”

“The last thing I wanted to do was go out there and possibly injure somebody,” Harvey said. “As he was walking by, I was trying to kind of get his attention, as he was going to first. When he then came off, obviously I apologized and made sure he was OK. I think he understands that it wasn’t intentional, obviously. I apologized.”

Cano was appearing in his fifth All-Star Game, but it still pained him to exit so early.

“You have been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Cano said in the Citi Field news conference room. “That is like any kid. It is a dream come true to play in front of your home crowd, and the second pitch of the game. It is disappointing, but at the same time, that is part of the game.”

Cano said he already had heard from Yankees head trainer Steve Donohue. The treatment, according to Cano, is just to ice the bruise.

Cano is the only member of the Yankees’ regular starting infield who has not been on the disabled list this season. First baseman Mark Teixeira is done for the season after wrist surgery. Shortstop Derek Jeter has played just one game because of a fractured ankle and is now dealing with a strained right quad. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez has not played in the majors all season because of hip surgery.

The Yankees have also been without regular corner outfielder Curtis Granderson, who is dealing with a fractured hand. The Yankees (51-44) entered the All-Star break trailing the Red Sox by six games in the AL East and are three back of the second wild card.

Cano is leading the team with a .302 average, 21 homers and 65 RBIs.

Mariano Rivera pitches 1-2-3 eighth

NEW YORK — For his final All-Star Game, Mariano Rivera entered to his familiar “Enter Sandman,” but there was the unfamiliar sight of an empty field around him.

As Rivera jogged in from the right-field bullpen for the eighth inning, none of his teammates took the field to warm up. Instead, both the American League and National League All-Stars stood by their dugouts and joined the sellout crowd of 45,186 at Citi Field for a nearly two-minute standing ovation.

Rivera stood on the mound, took off his cap and acknowledged the reception. He then went on to retire the side, 1-2-3, ending the inning by forcing Carlos Gomez to ground out.

Rivera’s performance was good enough to make him the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1999 to be named the All-Star Game MVP and the first New York Yankee since Derek Jeter in 2000. Rivera received a Corvette Stingray for winning the award.

Rivera is the second reliever to win the MVP. In 1975, the Mets’ Jon Matlack shared the award with Cubs third baseman Bill Madlock.

At the end of the eighth, with the crowd on its feet again, Rivera walked to the road dugout and was greeted with a hug from Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander before being received by the rest of his teammates.

“Amazing,” Rivera said when asked to describe the night.

Mariano Rivera

AP Photo/Matt SlocumMariano Rivera saluted the All-Star Game fans at Citi Field as they feted the retiring closer with a standing ovation.

He added that Tuesday night was the best moment of his career outside of winning his five World Series rings.

AL manager Jim Leyland said he used Rivera in the eighth inning instead of the ninth because he wanted to make sure that Rivera pitched in the game. If another reliever blew the game in the eighth and Rivera never appeared, Leyland was worried about the reaction.

“I wanted to make sure I got out of here alive,” Leyland said with a laugh.

Joe Nathan of the Texas Rangers closed out the AL’s 3-0 victory.

In his career, Rivera has pitched nine All-Star innings and never allowed an earned run. He has four saves.

Prior to the game, the AL clubhouse was very emotional as Leyland spoke.

“I said I’m not a motivational speaker, but my motivation for tonight is to get to the greatest closer in of all-time,” Leyland said.

After he spoke, Leyland had his own Detroit Tiger, Torii Hunter, address the players. Hunter then asked Rivera to speak next.

“I told them, I was honored,” Rivera said. “It was a privilege for me to play with all of them. For so many years, this is my 13th year as an All-Star. For many of them, it was their first one. I told them to make sure they enjoy it because it goes by quick.”

Leyland said the AL was “fired up” before the first pitch.

In the eighth, Rivera heard his theme song, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” which is usually reserved for across town at Yankee Stadium. Then he noticed that there were no teammates behind him, which he said felt “weird.”

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“I didn’t know how to act,” Rivera said. “At that moment, I didn’t know what to do.”

Instead all the All-Stars were giving him a standing ovation.

“It almost made me cry,” Rivera said. “It was close. It was amazing. I will never forget that.”

Rivera threw 16 pitches, 11 of which were strikes. He got Jean Segura to ground out and Allen Craig to line out before Gomez’s ground out.

Rivera, 43, announced his retirement during spring training. After missing most of 2012 following knee surgery, Rivera has returned in style in the first half, saving 30 games in 32 chances, pushing his all-time best total to 638.

During the pregame, Rivera received a loud ovation when he was introduced with the rest of his AL teammates. Players in both dugouts glowed about appearing with Rivera for his final All-Star Game.

“It is just kind of an honor to be in the same clubhouse,” said Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Ben Zobrist, expressing the overriding sentiment in the All-Star locker room. Rivera has spent the season visiting with fans and longtime employees during the final road series the Yankees have played with opponents. He is doing it, he said, to show his appreciation for people who don’t receive as much recognition but have the same love for the game he does.

Before Tuesday’s game, New York Mets third baseman David Wright came up to Rivera and told him he was “proud” of how he handled himself.

“Things like that, that come from young boys like that, it is good,” Rivera said. “They know why you do it. That’s great.”

Rivera has been named to a total of 13 All-Star games in his 19 seasons.

American League limits National League to 3 hits in All-Star Game win

NEW YORK — Mariano Rivera was all set up to save his final All-Star Game — or so it seemed.

Jim Leyland just wasn’t about to take that chance.

Summoned in the eighth inning to make certain he would pitch, Rivera soaked up a 90-second standing ovation and got three straight outs while helping the American League to a 3-0 victory over the National League on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

More All-Star Game Coverage

No matter the inning in which his All-Star Game finale unfolded, this will be an evening Mariano Rivera will carry with him forever. Even if it was kind of weird, Jayson Stark writes. Story

Jim Caple ranks the All-Stars’ performances. And in a game in which offense was at a premium, anyone who showed even the slightest offense had an edge. Rankings

David Schoenfield kept up with all the action in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, from pregame introductions to Joe Nathan’s save. Relive the Midsummer Classic here. Diary

• Stats: Pitching riches overwhelm
• Gallery: Photos of the night

“I think the plan was perfect,” said Rivera, who took home the MVP trophy.

Rivera reported early for work, and the New York Yankees‘ indomitable closer combined with nine other pitchers on a three-hitter as the AL snapped a three-game skid and regained home-field advantage in the World Series. Joe Nathan saved it in Rivera’s place after the AL scratched out a pair of runs and got an RBI double from Jason Kipnis.

Leyland, the AL manager, had promised Rivera would pitch. So rather than risk waiting for a save opportunity that might never come, the Detroit Tigers‘ skipper made his much-awaited call one inning earlier than Rivera is accustomed to, just in case of “something freaky.”

“If anybody ever messed up Mariano Rivera, I can lay claim to that,” Leyland said. “I just couldn’t take any chance. You know, I’m probably not the most popular manager in baseball. I wanted to make sure I got out of here alive.”

Robinson Cano hobbled off early after getting hit by a pitch from crosstown rival Matt Harvey of the host Mets. X-rays were negative, and Cano said he shouldn’t miss any games for the Yankees.

Harvey and opposing starter Max Scherzer were among a record 39 first-time All-Stars in a game that featured four precocious players 21 or younger — baseball’s next generation.

Both came out throwing 99-mph heat, but it was Rivera, at 43 the oldest All-Star since Carlton Fisk in 1991, who was the center of attention in his farewell season. And on this night, with drug suspensions still looming for some of the game’s biggest names, the spotlight found a player who is almost universally respected.

Baseball’s career saves leader came in from the bullpen to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” just like he does across town at Yankee Stadium, and was left alone on the field to take in a stirring ovation.

“It was a great moment. He is one of the best pitchers that’s ever played this game,” Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said.

All-Stars on both sides clapped from the top of the dugout steps, and Rivera tipped his cap to the crowd.

Enter Sandman, Exit MVP

Mariano Rivera became just the seventh pitcher in MLB history to win the All-Star Game MVP award. Rivera is the first pitcher to win the award since Pedro Martinez in 1999.

Pitchers to Win All-Star Game MVP

Pitcher Team Year
*- Co-MVP   –ESPN Stats & Information
Mariano Rivera Yankees 2013
Pedro Martinez Red Sox 1999
Roger Clemens Red Sox 1986
LaMarr Hoyt Padres 1985
Don Sutton Dodgers 1977
Jon Matlack* Mets 1975
Juan Marichal Giants 1965

Rivera also became just the fourth player to win an All-Star Game MVP award and a World Series MVP award. Rivera’s longtime teammate, Derek Jeter, has also accomplished the feat.

Won All-Star Game and World Series MVP

Player All-Star World Series
–ESPN Stats & Information
Mariano Rivera 2013 1999
Derek Jeter 2000 2000
Frank Robinson 1971 1966
Brooks Robinson 1966 1970

Then he went to work, retiring three straight hitters on 16 pitches — all cutters, as usual — before walking off to another ovation and receiving a hug from Detroit ace Justin Verlander.

“It was tough. It was special,” an emotional Rivera said. “Seeing the fans sharing and both teams standing out of the dugout — managers, coaches, players. Priceless.”

Exit, Sandman.

Next stop, the Hall of Fame.

The game’s greatest reliever, quiet and humble by nature, addressed his AL teammates before they took the field. He made it quick, just like his outing. Most of them, actually.

“What I said was that I was honored and it was a privilege for me to play with all of them for so many years,” Rivera said.

On the field, the lengthy cheers provided a fitting tribute and the latest salute to Rivera, set to retire after this season. The 13-time All-Star is on something of a farewell tour, receiving creative gifts at each opposing ballpark he visits for the final time.

He got a rocking chair built out of broken bats in Minnesota, a decorated surfboard and bottle of wine in Oakland.

The last time he was at Citi Field, though, things didn’t go so well. He was honored by the Mets before a game in late May, threw out a ceremonial first ball — and then had his first blown save of the year.

While other All-Stars wore flashy spikes, Rivera stayed with traditional black. No surprise for Mr. Steady.

Rivera has never allowed an earned run in nine All-Star innings. The only older pitcher to appear in an All-Star Game was 47-year-old Satchel Paige 60 years ago.

“First class all the way,” Mets captain David Wright said. “Well deserving for Mariano. I was on the top step clapping and cheering as loud as I could.”

Winning pitcher Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox worked two perfect innings for the AL, which posted its third shutout and first since 1990 at Wrigley Field to trim the NL lead to 43-39-2 in All-Star Games.

The NL didn’t manage a baserunner until Carlos Beltran‘s one-out single in the fourth.

SportsNation: Rivera is All-Star MVP

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It was the ninth All-Star Game in New York — most for any city — and second in five years after a farewell to old Yankee Stadium in 2008. But the only other time the Mets hosted was during Shea Stadium’s debut season in 1964, when Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison hit a game-ending homer in the ninth.

This one gave the struggling Mets a chance to pack their cozy ballpark for one of the few times all season. Fans chanted Harvey’s name during pregame introductions, and the 24-year-old sensation delivered with three strikeouts in two shutout innings.

He walked off to a standing ovation and received a pat on the back from NL manager Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants, the defending World Series champions.

Harvey was the youngest All-Star starting pitcher since former Mets ace Dwight Gooden was 23 a quarter-century ago — and the first from the home team since Houston’s Roger Clemens in 2004. Gooden cheered Harvey on from the stands.

All the buildup might have made the phenom a little too excited at the start. Mike Trout doubled inside first base on his opening pitch, and Harvey drilled Cano just above the right knee with a 96-mph fastball on the third.

In obvious pain, Cano initially stayed in the game but limped off after Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera struck out — just as he did against Harvey in spring training.

Cano crossed in front of the mound while heading to the dugout, and Harvey patted himself on the chest.

“I didn’t mean to, obviously,” Harvey said. “I feel terrible. Apologies go out to him.”

Cano has a bruised quadriceps but said he’ll be ready to play when the Yankees come out of the All-Star break.

“Just a little tight,” Cano said. “I’ll be good for Friday.”

Wright went to the mound for a calming chat with Harvey, who whiffed Jose Bautista to end the inning.

Cano’s name came up all night — even after he left the game. A fan in a Cano shirt ran on the field and gave himself up to security near second base as players backed away a bit, but he was tackled anyway, to the delight of the crowd.

Cabrera’s bat slipped out of his hands on a swing and sailed 10 to 15 rows deep, where it nearly clipped another fan in a Cano jersey.

Cabrera’s next cut against loser Patrick Corbin produced a leadoff double in the fourth, and Bautista’s sacrifice fly snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak for the AL that dated to Adrian Gonzalez‘s homer off Cliff Lee two years ago in Arizona.

Baltimore’s Adam Jones, wearing bright orange high-tops, doubled against Lee to start the fifth and scored while J.J. Hardy beat out a potential double play. Kipnis doubled home a run in the eighth off Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel.

Game notes

Nathan gave Rivera the game ball, and a representative from the Hall of Fame took Rivera’s cap to display in Cooperstown. … Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, from the 1969 Miracle Mets, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Wright, who led the NL All-Stars out of the dugout. Wright singled in the seventh and was pulled for Pittsburgh 3B Pedro Alvarez in the eighth. … Next year’s game is in Minnesota, with 2015 at Cincinnati. … The score of the 2002 All-Star Game, which ended in an embarrassing 7-7 tie, was restored on the out-of-town scoreboard after it was noticeably absent during Monday night’s Home Run Derby. … Neil Diamond performed ballpark favorite “Sweet Caroline” from in front of the mound in the middle of the eighth inning. … Corbin’s only loss in 12 decisions this season came July 2 at Citi Field. … The crowd of 45,186 was the largest ever at Citi Field, which opened in 2009.

MLB All-Star Game 2013: American League leads 2-0

MLB All-Star Game 2013: Time, TV schedule, lineups and more

The 84th edition of the MLB All-Star Game will take place Tuesday night at Citi Field, as some of the best players in baseball will compete to give their league home-field advantage in the World Series.

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has given starting nods to Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer. Scherzer leads the AL with a 13-1 record, and has posted a 3.19 ERA in 19 starts. The right-hander has overpowered opposing hitters, striking out 152 batters while only walking 31 in 129 2/3 innings.

Miguel Cabrera received the most votes among AL players, and will hit in the No. 3 spot in the lineup:

Order Player Team Position
1 Mike Trout Angels LF
2 Robinson Cano Yankees 2B
3 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 3B
4 Chris Davis Orioles 1B
5 Jose Bautista Blue Jays RF
6 David Ortiz Red Sox DH
7 Adam Jones Orioles CF
8 Joe Mauer Twins C
9 J. J. Hardy Orioles SS

New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey will get the chance to pitch in front of the home crowd, as Bruce Bochy gave the right-hander the starting nod. Harvey is 7-2 on the season with a 2.35 ERA, and has fanned 147 hitters while only issuing 28 walks in 130 innings.

David Wright will hit cleanup at Citi Field, while Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips will get the chance to set the table:

Order Player Team Position
1 Brandon Phillips Reds 2B
2 Carlos Beltran Cardinals RF
3 Joey Votto Reds 1B
4 David Wright Mets 3B
5 Carlos Gonzalez Rockies LF
6 Yadier Molina Cardinals C
7 Troy Tulowitzki Rockies SS
8 Michael Cuddyer Rockies DH
9 Bryce Harper Nationals CF

Coverage of the pregame ceremonies will start at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX, with first pitch scheduled for 8 p.m.