Teams publish their media guides during spring training and over the course of the season print out supplemental biographies of players added to the roster to have available in the press box.
When the Yankees were at Fenway Park this past week, that release was 18 pages and covered 10 players.
That helps explain the turmoil the Yankees have gone through the last few weeks as their headlock on the American League East was chopped to 3½ games at one point.
A full-out Yankees collapse would have been a welcome distraction for Red Sox fans from their last-place team. But New York won 8 of 10 to calm the building panic.
The Yankees were on a pace to win 113 games at the All-Star break. They are under .500 since. But the point is to have a parade no matter how you get there.
For manager Aaron Boone, the hope is the summer hardship will make his team better come the postseason.
“That’s one of the things we’ve talked about. We talk about adversity all the time,” he said. “We certainly had our share in the second half of the season and certainly in the last few weeks on the injury front.
“Hopefully going through these kinds of things and hopefully if we get to where we want to go come October, hopefully it does help prepare us a little bit better for our goal of being a champion.”
Few World Series champions enjoy a stress-free postseason. If the Yankees find themselves trailing in a series, having recovered from their slump will provide an emotional road map.
“The teams that win a championship, the run doesn’t always go smooth and perfect,” Boone said. “You face moments within a game, moments within a series, real gut-check times.
“When you’ve been through a lot individually and as a team throughout the year when you’ve been tested, hopefully those are things you can fall back on in crisis moments in the postseason.”
Meanwhile, the Yankees are getting healthier. Aroldis Chapman, out with a leg infection caused by a tattoo, was activated on Friday.
Righthander Scott Effross (shoulder) is facing hitters and should be activated this coming week. First baseman Anthony Rizzo (lower back) could be back in the lineup on Sunday.
Righthander Luis Severino (lat strain) had his rehab shifted to Triple A. He, too, should be back this coming week.
Infielder DJ LeMahieu, who has been dealing with a painfully inflamed toe on his right foot, is likely to try playing within a week. The Yankees also should get center fielder Harrison Bader on the roster this coming week.
Bader last played a major league game on June 26 for the Cardinals before plantar fasciitis sent him to the injured list. The Yankees acquired him at the trade deadline to improve their shaky outfield defense.
Matt Carpenter, who broke his left foot on Aug. 8, is still in a boot. He’s about out of time for a rehab assignment with the minor league season ending in 11 days. The Yankees have averaged 3.7 runs since his loss.
Whether it’s LeMahieu, Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, or Gleyber Torres, the Yankees will need a hitter to provide at least a hint of protection for Aaron Judge in the postseason. Otherwise, he will get the Barry Bonds treatment.
By hitting Judge first, Boone is almost daring teams to pitch around him.
“We’ve had a different team,” Boone said. “But we can still be a very good one.”
LEARNING HIS WAY
Casas stayed quiet about Fenway homer
Triston Casas hit an impressive home run off Gerrit Cole on Tuesday night, his first at Fenway Park. That merited his being interviewed after the game.
How Casas reacted to that revealed as much about his readiness for the majors as did the home run.
Casas was quick to say he regretted the Red Sox had not won the game before discussing his at-bat against Cole. The entire time, he kept his voice just loud enough to be heard and didn’t smile much.
Once the interview wrapped up, Casas went back to his locker. As a few of us left, he apologized for speaking softly but said he didn’t want to draw attention to himself in the clubhouse after a loss.
It brought to mind veteran players giving Michael Chavis some side-eye a few years ago when he was chuckling it up with reporters about getting a few hits in a loss.
That Casas handled it the way he did didn’t go unnoticed.
“I love hearing about that,” a Red Sox coach said the next day. “That’s perfect. The more we’ve seen of him here, the more we like.”
A few other observations on the Red Sox:
▪ The Sox seem prepared to go into next season with a catching tandem of Reese McGuire and Connor Wong, and trust that Jason Varitek will have them prepared for whatever comes up.
It’s gone under the radar, but McGuire has hit well since arriving in Boston and made a quick transition to handling a new pitching staff.
Given all their other needs, a McGuire/Wong duo represents an inexpensive way to fill a position. Plus, the Sox need to get something out of the failed Mookie Betts deal beyond Alex Verdugo, whose numbers have dropped two years in a row.
The free agent market is not very appealing beyond Cubs All-Star Willson Contreras, who’s a better hitter than a catcher. If Contreras receives a qualifying offer, which seems likely, signing him would require draft pick compensation.
Several readers have e-mailed to ask about bringing back Christian Vázquez. That’s hard to imagine. If Chaim Bloom felt that highly of Vázquez, he wouldn’t have traded him in the first place.
That doesn’t leave much. Mike Zunino will be coming back from thoracic outlet surgery. Tucker Barnhart had a gruesome year for the Tigers. There’s always the possibility of a trade, but landing a solid catcher would require giving up talent.
▪ J.D. Martinez has 277 career home runs but no walkoffs.
▪ There was one reporter from the Boston area who covered the Red Sox-Orioles game at Camden Yards last Sunday. There were 21 in Miami for Patriots-Dolphins.
Yes, the Red Sox were playing a relatively meaningless game on the road and the Patriots were opening their season. But still, that should be unnerving to Sox ownership. There was more interest in their previous last-place teams.
▪ No Sox fan protested when Adam Ottavino and Martín Pérez left as free agents after last season. Both have prospered with their new teams.
Ottavino has a 2.03 ERA and 0.97 WHIP as the primary setup man for Mets closer Edwin Diaz. Ottavino has hammered righthanded hitters and been particularly good in the second half. He changed his mix and relied more on a sinker than his slider. That, along with his changeup, has helped to limit hard contact.
Signing Ottavino for one year and $4 million was a coup for Billy Eppler.
Pérez is 11-6 with a 2.77 ERA through 28 starts for the Rangers, the best season of an 11-year career. He was deservedly demoted to the bullpen by the Sox last season after going 7-8, 4.77 in 22 starts.
▪ Make your plans. According to a survey done by Bookmakers.com based on elevation maps and temperature projections, Fenway Park could be underwater by 2050.
The good news is that the Sox will probably have “Raft Seats” in center field for $500 a game.
▪ Anthony Varvaro grew up on Staten Island, a place where your friends and neighbors often take on civil service jobs such as police officer, firefighter, teacher, or nurse.
Varvaro defied the odds and became a major leaguer, pitching in 166 games as a reliever for the Mariners, Braves, and Red Sox from 2010-15.
He was a Ryan Brasier-type. Not too tall, but competitive with his fastball and unafraid of a tight spot late in the game.
In 2016, Varvaro was coming off a second surgery on his elbow when he decided to retire from baseball and enroll in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police academy.
It wasn’t a surprise. In a spring training conversation in 2015, Varvaro said his long-term plan was to become an officer after majoring in criminal justice at St. John’s University. He wanted to give something back and have a steady job to support his growing family.
Varvaro had taken baseball as far as he could. It was time to go back to Staten Island. He became a cop, president of his local Little League, and a devoted husband and father.
That’s what made the news of his death last week so tragic. Varvaro, 37, was struck by a wrong-way driver on the New Jersey Turnpike on his way to voluntarily stand guard at the World Trade Center site for the annual Sept. 11 memorial ceremonies.
The Sox had a moment of silence for Varvaro at Fenway Park on Tuesday. One of the Yankees with his head bowed was Josh Donaldson, who Varvaro faced in his last major league game.
Cairo has given White Sox a spark
Elvis Andrus giving the White Sox a lift under interim manager Miguel Cairo was not a story line anybody expected for the 2022 season. But here we are.
Andrus signed with Chicago as a free agent on Aug. 19 after being released by Oakland two days prior. He was tried as the leadoff hitter on Aug. 31 and had a 1.079 OPS in the 15 games that followed as the White Sox went 11-4.
It was Cairo who made the decision to use Andrus atop the order. He became interim manager on Aug. 30 after Tony La Russa took medical leave to deal with an issue with his pacemaker.
The White Sox went into the weekend three games behind the Guardians for a playoff spot. Winning the division is likely their only route to the postseason with the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Rays well ahead in the wild-card race.
La Russa, who turns 78 on Oct. 4, has not been cleared to return to the dugout. It may be best to keep Cairo in charge regardless of what the doctors decide. He has reportedly been more demanding of the players, while at the same time being respectful of La Russa.
The White Sox have been seen as an underachieving team all season, particularly at the plate. Cairo has been an advocate of a more aggressive approach.
Cairo, 48, has been seen as a hot managerial prospect. He played under La Russa, Joe Torre, and Dusty Baker during his career, and there’s no better foundation than that.
This may be his time.
Christian Yelich showed great sportsmanship on Wednesday night when he took the first pitch of the game from Adam Wainwright so the crowd of 46,459 in St. Louis could enjoy Wainwright and Yadier Molina setting the record for most starts as a battery with 325. Molina threw the ball into the dugout for safekeeping before the game went on. Wainwright, 41, allowed one run over five innings for the win. Molina, 40, was 1 for 4 with an RBI … Here’s a strange one: The New York Post reported that Creative Artists Agency dropped Guardians righthander Zach Plesac as a client after a series of poorly considered actions. Plesac broke his pitching hand last month when he gave up a home run and punched the mound. He also defied MLB’s COVID rules during the 2020 season, going out on the town in Chicago after a game, to the anger of his teammates and manager Terry Francona. Then last season, Plesac fractured his thumb while ripping off his jersey and getting it stuck in a chair. CAA’s decision could be costly as Plesac will be eligible for arbitration after this season. But it goes back to what sort of person you want to represent … Rawlings announced it would award a Gold Glove in each league for super utility players. Better late than never … Don’t mess with Gabe Kapler. The Giants optioned reliever Zack Littell to Triple A on Tuesday after he popped off to his manager while being taken out of a game against the Braves. Littell has a 5.08 ERA, but it was clear the demotion was based on more than that. “Good teammate behavior is part of performance, as well. So I don’t want to say that there’s no part of makeup that we consider when we make decisions,” Kapler said. Littell allowed two runs on three hits when Kapler came out to the mound, and he had something to say. Kapler then brought the pitcher down the tunnel out of camera range when he got back to the dugout. “I can tell you I wasn’t happy,” Kapler said … The Giants have not had a hitter with 30 home runs since Barry Bonds had 45 in 2004. Every other team has had at least four in that time … Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., 22, had 27 doubles, 20 home runs, 6 triples, and 27 steals through his first 133 games. The last player to hit all those marks in his age-22 season or younger was Mike Trout in 2012 and ‘13. Before that it was Carlos Beltrán in 1999 … There is much drama around Team Puerto Rico as the World Baseball Classic approaches. Eduardo Pérez resigned as general manager when Dr. José Quiles, the president of Puerto Rico’s baseball federation, decided unilaterally that Molina would be the manager. Pérez wanted Astros bench coach Joe Espada … It was only fitting that the Rays fielded a batting order of all Latin-American players on Roberto Clemente Day on Thursday. That was a first in major league history … The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday and Freddie Freeman took his first day off of the season on Wednesday … Cheers to Chris Gilligan, who has joined FanGraphs.com as a contributor. Chris worked in the Red Sox media relations department from 2015-19. He stayed in communications at WGBH before landing a position as a data journalist at US News and World Report. People often ask how they can get a job writing about something they love. It’s always persistence …. The third annual Futures Collegiate Baseball League golf tournament will be Oct. 7 at Leicester Country Club. It’s $150 for a single player, $500 for a foursome, $200 to sponsor a hole, and $100 to sponsor a tee. Call Katie Arend at 603-718-8883 for information … Happy birthday to Sam Bowen, who is 70. He appeared in 16 games for the Red Sox from 1977-80. His first hit in the majors was a home run off Jon Matlack of the Rangers on July 27, 1978. Bowen started in center field that day between Jim Rice and Dwight Evans. His reward was being sent back to Pawtucket the next day. Bowen played for Pawtucket in the famed 33-inning game against Rochester in 1981. He was 2 for 12 batting seventh behind Wade Boggs and ahead of Rich Gedman.