Dan's Dugout: Here's Your Labor Day Weekend Update • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Here’s Your Labor Day Weekend Update

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Saturday Night Live is not the only place where Weekend Update exists.

With 10 playoff spots for the taking next month, plus 2018 planning already in the talking stage, virtually all of the 30 teams in the majors are actively making or contemplating changes.

Manager Joe Girardi encourages prize pupil Aaron Judge

Manager Joe Girardi encourages prize pupil Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees, hoping to bag one of the American League’s two wild-card slots, continue to ponder what to do with Aaron Judge, who went from Triple Crown contender in the first half to strikeout machine in the second.

That would be good if he were a pitcher rather than a rookie rightfielder who once seemed like a lock for the Most Valuable Player award. Houston’s Jose Altuve is now the odds-on MVP, with Boston outfielder Andrew Benitendi and third baseman Rafael Devers making serious runs at the Rookie of the Year trophy that once seemed certain for Judge.

Baseball can be fickle, with conditions changing in a heartbeat, and Judge has bounced around the Yankee batting order after it became clear he was more likely to kill rallies than start them.

The question the team must decide is how to handle the floundering freshman before he flushes the team’s playoff chances. Both the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels are hot on the heels of the Yankees, who acquired only backup catcher Erik Kratz before the Friday deadline on waiver trades.

As the final month opens, these items also generated interest:

Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, the only man in the majors who fans more half the hitters he faces, has joined Koji Uehara, Kenley Jansen, and Andrew Miller as the only relievers ever to reach 100 strikeouts before issuing 10 walks . . .

Craig Kimbrel is giving the Bosox airtight relief

Craig Kimbrel is giving the Bosox airtight relief

Seattle’s playoff aspirations might have been realized if not for the untimely loss of star southpaw Felix Hernandez, who went 5-4 with a 4.28 ERA before moving to the disabled list with shoulder bursitis . . .

Veteran righthander Jered Weaver, who just announced his retirement from the San Diego Padres, has a better lifetime winning percentage than Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn, or Tom Seaver . . .

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman admits his left wrist, fractured in 14 places by a pitch from Toronto’s Aaron Loup, is regressing, robbing him of both bat speed and power . . .

Here’s guessing that Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins) not only wins his second NL home run crown but becomes the sixth man to reach the 60-homer plateau . . .

With Jackie Bradley Jr. injured, the Boston Red Sox made a shrewd move in landing Rajai Davis, who led the AL with 43 steals last year . . .

Journeyman Doug Fister, whom nobody wanted before the Red Sox reached into the trash heap, has joined Robin Roberts and Jack McDowell as the only pitchers to hold opponents hitless after yielding leadoff homers . . .

Curtis Granderson says the Mets will improve

Curtis Granderson says the Mets will improve

Ex-Met Curtis Granderson, now with the Dodgers, says his former team will get well fast when their injured pitchers return and rookie infielders Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith develop . . .

Where would the Bosox be without southpaw Chris Sale, American League leader in wins, innings, strikeouts, and ERA for most of this season? . . .

With fleet Javier Baez subbing for the injured Addison Russell since early August, the Cubs have played their best baseball of the season . . .

Even missing a month with rotator cuff trouble hasn’t cured the woes of erstwhile Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, whose slider suddenly looks flat . . .

On the plus side, the Yanks are thrilled that 24-year-old first baseman Greg Bird is back to the bashing form he showed when he tied for tops in the majors with eight spring training homers before battling ankle and foot injuries . . .

Arizona infielder Daniel Descalso has retired all seven hitters he faced in a trio of mop-up pitching roles over four seasons . . .

With David Wright unlikely to return, the New York Mets might consider Todd Frazier (Yankees) or Josh Donaldson (Blue Jays), the only third basemen in the majors to hit at least 20 homers in each of the last four seasons . . .

Former MVP Josh Donaldson could be traded this winter

Former MVP Josh Donaldson could be traded this winter

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sontomayor, a Bronx native, sometimes its in the Yankee Stadium beachers known as “The Judge’s Chambers” . . .

Hard to believe that the heavy-hitting Red Sox have the fewest home runs in the American League . . .

Sad to note there hasn’t been a day game in the World Series since 1987 . . .

Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring), Royals pitcher Danny Duffy (elbow), and Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (hamstring) are expected to miss the rest of this season . . .

Southpaw Sean Doolittle, obtained from Oakland, has been nothing short of sensational in the bullpen of the Washington Nationals . . .

The Nats don’t know when Bryce Harper (bone bruise in left knee) will return but are glad to have shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Jayson Werth back in their lineup . . .

With Harper hobbled, Giancarlo Stanton should become the first member of the Marlins to win the National League’s MVP award . . .

Max Scherzer is a Cy Young contender again

Max Scherzer is a Cy Young contender again

Expect a photo finish for the NL’s Cy Young trophy between Max Scherzer (Nationals) and Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) . . .

Who knew? Yankees reliever Chad Green is the first pitcher to fan seven men while facing eight batters or less . . .

Great idea to stage the first Little League Classic, a game that counted between Pittsburgh and St. Louis in Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series . . .

Congratulations to Mike Moustakas for topping Steve Balboni’s 1985 Kansas City club record of 36 home runs in a season . . .

Despite a doubleheader sweep over the suddenly-slumping Dodgers Saturday, San Diego’s sad-sack offense prompted the firing of Padres hitting coach Alan Zinter . . .

If the Cleveland Indians win the 2017 World Series, they will not only end the longest drought by any of the 16 original teams but also make Terry Francona the fifth man to win with multiple teams, along with Bucky Harris, Blll McKechnie, Sparky Anderson, and Tony La Russa . . .

Manager Terry Francona high fives Yan Gomes

Manager Terry Francona high fives Yan Gomes

Indians ace Corey Kluber will challenge Chris Sale for the AL’s Cy Young . . .

Even though he survived the veterans purge in Detroit, DH Victor Martinez will miss the rest of the season with chronic ablation surgery . . .

The Tigers haven’t decided the fate of beleaguered manager Brad Ausmus, whose charges have played at a .500 clip during his tenure . . .

The Cincinnati Reds, on the other hand, have decided the price is right for their manager, inviting Bryan Price to return . . .

Miami’s faint hopes for a wild-card slot could hinge on the elbow health of lefty Wei-Yin Chen, returning as a reliever but hoping to return to the rotation next spring . . .

After pasting opposing pitching for a .315 average in 237 at-bats as a 2016 rookie, Colorado outfielder David Dahl missed all of this season with a rib injury suffered in spring training . . .

Waiver acquisitions Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips should have short shelf life with the Angels with free agency looking this fall.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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