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Yankees to manage 2B Torres after Friday fall

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Gleyber Torres‘ MRI on his right hamstring Saturday came back negative, but the New York Yankees still plan to be cautious with the second baseman as the regular season winds down.

Torres slipped after backhanding a grounder Friday night, prompting an audible gasp from the crowd at Yankee Stadium. He was pulled later and said he felt weakness in his lower legs. He was not in the lineup Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays, although manager Aaron Boone said Torres was feeling good.

Prior to the Yankees’ announcement, Boone said the American League East champions will be careful with Torres over the final week of the regular season. New York has seven games remaining and won’t play its postseason opener until Oct. 4.

“I think he’s OK,” Boone said of Torres, “but the wear and tear of playing every day in the season, he’s been kind of taking care of himself every day and getting treatment on a lot of his lower half just as a maintenance thing, so certainly with him try to be a little more cautious.”

Torres, 22, leads the team with 38 homers and is hitting .284 with 90 RBIs and an .889 OPS. If Torres misses time, DJ LeMahieu would be New York’s primary second baseman, with Gio Urshela starting at third. LeMahieu was held out of the lineup for rest Saturday.

The 100-win Yankees are in a tight race with the Houston Astros for home-field advantage. Boone is trying to strike a balance between battling the Astros and resting his stars.

“Any ailments we’re dealing with, taking care of that trumps everything,” Boone said.

Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) could return to the lineup during the upcoming midweek series against the Tampa Bay Rays. He is a bit ahead of catcher Gary Sanchez (groin tightness), but Boone said Sanchez could be back for the final series at Texas. Boone is “confident” Sanchez will be ready for the playoff opener.

ESPN’s Marly Rivera and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MLBPA stands firm against additional pay cuts, ‘resoundingly’ rejects league’s plan

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Baseball players reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games.

More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after their offer was rejected by Major League Baseball.

“Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless players negotiate salary concessions,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement. “The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon. This threat came in response to an association proposal aimed at charting a path forward.”

“Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless players agree to further salary reductions,” Clark added.

MLB last week proposed an 82-game season with an additional sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave a player at the $563,500 minimum with 47% of his original salary and top stars Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole at less than 22% of the $36 million they had been set to earn.

Players countered Sunday with a plan for a 114-game regular season with no pay cuts beyond the prorated salaries they agreed to on March 26. That would leave each player with about 70% of his original pay.

MLB rejected that Wednesday, when Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a letter to union chief negotiator Bruce Meyer informing him “we do not have any reason to believe that a negotiated solution for an 82-game season is possible.”

“Nonetheless, the commissioner is committed to playing baseball in 2020,” Halem said in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press. “He has started discussions with ownership about staging a shorter season without fans.”

Management officials have threatened proposing a shortened slate of perhaps 50 games or fewer. There has not been a schedule averaging fewer than 82 games per team since 1879.

“The overwhelming consensus of the board is that players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well,” Clark said in a statement. “The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.”

While baseball has reverted to the economic bickering that led to eight work stoppages from 1972-95, the NBA, NHL and MLS have moved ahead with plans to resume their seasons.

“In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, players want nothing more than to get back to work,” Clark said. “But we cannot do this alone.”

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Ranking every No. 1 overall pick in MLB draft history

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On June 10, the evening of the 56th MLB first-year player draft, some happy amateur baseball star — probably Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson — will become the 55th player to be picked first overall. Yes, there have been more drafts than players picked first. We’ll get to that.

Assuming he eventually reaches the majors, Torkelson will become the third Torkelson to play at the highest level of his sport. There was Red, a pitcher who won two games for the 1917 Cleveland Indians. There was Eric, who was a running back for the Green Bay Packers in the 1970s. I bring up the history of Torkelsons for two reasons. First, when I was a kid, one of my favorite nuggets of trivia was that Eric Torkelson was the brother of Peter Tork of The Monkees. The second reason I bring it up is that the trivia nugget was wrong: It traced back to an on-air gaffe by Howard Cosell.

Whether it’s Torkelson or someone else whose name is called first, we know a couple of things about that player, whoever it will be. One, he’s talented. He is viewed by people in the know as the best draft-eligible ballplayer in the country. Two, that doesn’t necessarily tell you what kind of career he is going to have.

The career outcomes of top overall picks have been wildly disparate. There have been Hall of Famers. There have been All-Stars. There have been average players who lasted a long time. There have been average players who didn’t last very long at all. There have been a few players who never even played in the big leagues. Let’s rank them.

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Tim Kurkjian’s Baseball Fix – All the reasons everyone loved Don Zimmer

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You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we’ll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.

ON THIS DATE IN 2014, Don Zimmer died.

The Rangers were riding a 13-game losing streak when a young beat writer dragged himself into manager Zimmer’s office on yet another scorching Texas day in May 1982.

“What’s wrong with you?” Zimmer said with that famous Zim glare.

“Covering this team isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be,” the writer said.

“Ah, quit complaining!” Zimmer snapped. “Look at you. You’re young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Look at me. I’m old, I’m fat, I’m bald, I’m ugly, I have a plate in my head. And I have this team to manage. I’m the one with the worries.”

The full “On this date …” archive

And then he flashed that Zim smile, that unmistakable, moon-faced smile that could light up a room, especially one in which baseball was spoken. No one, but no one, loved the game more than Don Zimmer. He married his beloved wife, Soot, at home plate in Elmira, N.Y. He wore a uniform for 66 years as a player, coach and manager. He was as tough a player as there has even been. He overcame two horrific beanings. He played for the world champion Dodgers in 1955. He managed four major league teams for 13 years, with a .508 winning percentage. In 1989, he managed the Cubs to an unlikely division title. And, as Joe Torre’s bench coach for many years with the Yankees, he became the game’s grandfather, baseball’s Buddha. In his final job, as a senior advisor for the Rays, he was revered.

The day he died, Zimmer was perhaps the mostly widely loved and respected person in the game.

For Zimmer’s last few years, Jim Leyland, a former Tigers manager, called him on the phone every day, sometimes two and three times, just to check in, and to pick his brain.

“I love Zim,” Leyland said.

Everyone loved Zim. After being fired by the Red Sox, Zimmer became a coach with the Yankees, and rented Bucky Dent’s house in New Jersey. Dent, of course, hit an enormous three-run homer for the Yankees in the famous playoff game that beat Zimmer’s Red Sox.

“Over top of my bed,” Zimmer said with a classic laugh, “there was a framed newspaper story with the headline: SOX DENTED! I went to bed every night with that hanging over my head.”

Other baseball notes for June 4

  • In 1955, Willie Mays hit an extra-inning home run. He would hit 22 extra-inning home runs in his career, most of all time.

  • In 2013, John Mayberry Jr. became the first player to hit two home runs in extra innings, the second being a walk-off grand slam.

  • In 1957, Tony Pena was born. He was an excellent defensive catcher. But he caught the most games of all time (1,950) of any catcher who never caught a no-hitter.

  • In 1964, Sandy Koufax threw his third no-hitter.

  • In 1956, catcher Terry Kennedy was born. Great guy, great historian of the game. And a really big catcher (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) who had some trouble at times with agility behind the plate. “Whenever I needed help, they’d send me a catching instructor who was this tall [roughly 5-8],” Kennedy said. “I’d tell the guy, ‘Thanks, but you can’t help me. The reason I’m having trouble back there is I’m so big.”’

  • In 1990, Ramon Martinez, brother of Pedro, struck out 18 in a 2-0 shutout of the Braves. “Did you look at his forearms? Look at how long they are,” said teammate Eric Karros. So I looked. Ramon had unusually long forearms, which allowed for such great whip action, especially on his breaking ball.

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