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Yankees reportedly annoyed by Maryland state troopers asking for autographs

There is an appropriate time and place for everything, even police officers asking professional baseball players for autographs. The ninth inning of Game 1 of the ALDS is not the time nor the place. As if asking the Yankees players for their autographs during a game wouldn’t be strange enough, some Maryland state troopers reportedly asked the Bombers for them during the most crucial inning of their win over Baltimore on Sunday.

According to the NY Post, officers assigned to the game asked Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter for their signatures sometime before, after or during New York’s five-run rally in the ninth inning. Swisher was reportedly “livid” over the request and Jeter had the following to say after the game when asked if that was a first for him.

“What do you think?” the Yankee captain asked.

I think not — especially in the ninth inning of a playoff game. Police officers are fans like the rest of us and many of them have kids who would kill for an autograph, but I’m sure these particular Maryland troopers now know that it’s better to save those types of requests for when you’re off the clock.

Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Jaime Garcia reportedly will be removed from NLDS roster; Cardinals furious

The Cardinals reportedly plan to remove pitcher Jaime Garcia from their NLDS roster because of a shoulder problem, and his teammates are said to be furious with him over the issue.

Garcia missed over two months of the season from June-August because of a shoulder injury that landed him on the 60-day disabled list. He pitched fairly well upon returning from the DL, lowering his season ERA from 4.48 to 3.92. He was the Cardinals’ Game 2 starter for the NLDS, but he was removed after two shaky innings against the Nationals and replaced by Lance Lynn, who got the win.

Garcia was sent for an MRI on the shoulder, and the Cardinals reportedly are waiting for the results before deciding his future. St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Joe Strauss said on Twitter that Garcia was going to be removed from the postseason roster. Strauss also reported that several Cardinals players are upset with Garcia for starting a playoff game without telling the team that he was injured. Others reportedly question whether the injury was enough to prevent him from pitching deeper into the game.

GM John Mozeliak called Garcia’s handling of the situation “frustrating.”

We can understand why Garcia may have kept the shoulder issue to himself. He was probably trying to tough it out, give his team everything he could, and avoid letting down his teammates. But by keeping the news of his shoulder problems to himself, he let down his team because it prevented them from making an informed decision about the playoff rotation.

What’s odd is that he pronounced himself “healthy” in this pregame interview. He was obviously lying.

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Ichiro scores first Yankees run by avoiding tag with incredible moves (Video)

Ichiro Suzuki scored the first run of the ALDS Game 2 between the Yankees and Orioles by making some incredible moves to avoid a tag at home.

The Yankees left fielder was trying to score from first on a two-out double by Robinson Cano in the first when the throw home clearly beat him. Ichiro swung out wide to avoid catcher Matt Wieters, and then he leaped over the diving catcher’s tag attempt to touch home plate for the run.

It was some incredible base running by Ichiro, and just the sort of boost the Yankees were hoping to receive when they acquired him from the Mariners.

As awesome as that play by Ichiro was, it still has nothing on the best slide ever.

Tim Lincecum surpassed in playoff rotation by Ryan Vogelsong, possibly Barry Zito

How unreliable has Tim Lincecum become for the Giants this season? So unreliable that he has been surpassed by Ryan Vogelsong and possibly Barry Zito in the team’s playoff rotation.

The Giants announced on Sunday that Ryan Vogelsong will start Game 3 of the NLDS. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area says Barry Zito is expected to pitch if there’s a Game 4, and if not him, Game 1 starter Matt Cain could return to pitch on short rest. That means Tim Lincecum is officially the Giants’ No. 5 starter this year.

This development isn’t really that surprising.

Tim Lincecum’s 5.18 ERA this season is nearly double Matt Cain’s 2.79 mark. He has given up almost two runs more per game than Madison Bumgarner and Vogelsong, and his ERA is a full run higher than Zito’s 4.15.

Managers generally have confidence in pitchers who have proven they can pitch in the postseason, even if they’re having a down season. Lincecum has won two Cy Young Awards and went 4-1 during the Giants’ 2010 World Series championship run. It shows you how badly he’s pitched this season that he’s been bumped this far.

Think about this: Barry Zito, who was a bust of a signing, is now ahead of the two-time Cy Young winner. I suppose that says a lot about both pitchers.

Al Alburquerque kiss angers A’s

Tigers relief pitcher Al Alburquerque angered some Oakland A’s by kissing the baseball after inducing a ground out during Game 2 of the ALDS on Sunday.

Alburquerque relieved Phil Coke in the 9th and got A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes to ground out with men on first and third to end the inning. After the ball was hit back to him, he took a few steps toward first before kissing the ball. He then gave an underhand toss to first baseman Prince Fielder for the inning-ending out.

Some A’s apparently viewed Alburquerque’s actions as disrespectful.

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Johnny Cueto leaves NLDS Game 1 after eight pitches with back spasms (Video)

The Reds had some bad luck on Saturday when ace pitcher Johnny Cueto left Game 1 of the NLDS against the Giants after eight pitches because of back spasms.

Cueto struck out Angel Pagan to start the game, but he was lifted after throwing two pitches to Marco Scutaro. Cueto attempted to make a pitch, but he stopped before throwing the ball and grabbed his side/back in obvious pain.

Cincinnati pulled Cueto and replaced him with third-year pitcher Sam LeCure. LeCure, who has made 10 starts during his career but has worked exclusively as a reliever this season, went 1.2 scoreless before being lifted for pinch-hitter Homer Bailey in the third.

The Reds say Cueto is day-to-day with the injury, but it’s unclear whether he will be able to return during the series. If the Reds decide to replace him on the NLDS roster, he would be ineligible for the NLCS should the Reds advance. Pitcher Mike Leake, who went 8-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 30 starts this season, would be a likely replacement if Cueto cannot pitch again in the series.

Cueto went 19-9 during the regular season and was third in the NL with a 2.78 ERA. He also left a start last September with a lat injury and was shut down for the rest of the season because of it.