Thursday, June 25, 2009

Joba's Vulcan Neck Pinch

Guard: What the hell are you doing?
Lone Starr: Uh… the Vulcan Neck Pinch?
Guard: No, no, stupid. You’ve got it much too high. It’s down here where the shoulder meets the neck.
Lone Starr: Like this?
Guard: Yeah! (faints)

The wildness of Interleague play is nearing its end, but we have had the rare pleasure of seeing David Ortiz playing the infield in Washington. Amazingly, moving laterally didn't cause any long-term damage, and Papi even homered in the game. He is a consistent starter now, and if you had the patience to weather the early-season (2.5 month) storm, he should be able to produce for you now. Who would have thought that this could all be from dry, sore eyes. Is it too late for Ben Stein to try his hand in the Minors?

Last night's game in Atlanta featured a bit of a scare. Joba Chamberlain stepped up to the plate to hit for himself (since pitchers can't be delicate little flowers in NL ballparks), crouched that stout, block-like frame into the right-hand batter's box, and waited. Kenshin Kawakami went into his wind, and whizzed a fastball on the outer half of the plate; Chamberlain swung...

Next thing we knew, Kawakami was down, the ball was slowly creeping across the infield grass, and Chamberlain grounded out off of Kawakami's neck. If that tub could run, he might have beat it out to break up Kawakami's 3.0-inning perfect game. We're used to seeing pitchers duck, bob and weave to try to avoid liners. Make no mistake, that pitcher's mound is not far from the plate. Chris Young (Padres) took a smash right off the face a couple years back. It's really a testament to his competitive spirit that he was able to recover, and remained willing to toe the rubber. Kawakami had to leave the game due to soreness in his shoulder and neck region, so it seems like the situation could have been much worse, but frightening nonetheless. Even stranger was that it was the opposing pitcher who hit it, and you just know Joba had a moment where his mind flashed to his own body on that mound watching a smash whistle by.

Hopefully Kawakami will be fine soon, and can get back to pitching. The Yankees were the eventual winners of the game, Joba got the W instead of a no-decision for once, Joe Girardi got tossed arguing a pick-off (for the record, he was right -- the ump blew the call) and we'll see if this game wakes up the pinstriped ones.

Down in Anaheim, there was a Garrett Atkins sighting. He clubbed a homer and drove in 2 of the Rockies 3 runs, but the Angels had the last laugh. This is certainly not enough evidence that Atkins is back, as he occupied the DH spot against a lefty, but at least he saw some action, and might be worth starting when he goes against southpaws.

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