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New York Yankees’ Greg Bird undergoes CT scan and MRI on right foot

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TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird will visit a foot specialist on Monday in New York after a CT scan and an MRI revealed right foot inflammation.

Bird underwent the tests after feeling discomfort in the foot Saturday morning.

Early tests and comments from Bird to team personnel indicated that the soreness he felt is related to an ankle injury that required surgery and sidelined him for most of last season.

Dr. Martin O’Malley, who performed last year’s surgery, will conduct Monday’s exam.

Prior to the results of Saturday’s tests, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he was worried about Bird.

“I’m not sure what we’re dealing with,” Cashman said. “But when Greg, when he can’t tee it up, that’s a problem for us because he’s a vital member of our organization.”

While also concerned, manager Aaron Boone expressed optimism that the test results would show the team won’t have to be without Bird for any significant amount of time.

“We’ll wait and see what the pictures say, and hopefully we can paint a clearer picture of what’s going on,” Boone said before the test results were known.

Bird had been scheduled to bat third in the Yankees’ afternoon split-squad game against the Atlanta Braves in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, but he was scratched after taking batting practice. He promptly returned to the Yankees’ complex here, where he began a series of physical tests conducted by Dr. Daniel Murphy.

Cashman said Bird told him and the medical staff that he began feeling the discomfort late in Friday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

“[Friday] might have been — I don’t want to put words in his mouth — but he said that as he ramped up baseball activity to nine innings it started to rear its ugly head,” Cashman said. “He felt it [Friday] by the end of the game, and I guess it carried over into [Saturday’s] pregame. But he didn’t say anything to us about it because he kind of figured it was something that he felt at that point was something that would go away, I guess.”

It was in another late spring training game last year that Bird fouled a ball off his right ankle. Although he played through the injury the first month of the season, he ultimately went on the disabled list and required surgery to remove a bone from the ankle.

According to Cashman, when Bird pointed Saturday to where he felt pain, he pointed to a part of his foot that was in a “similar area” to last year’s injury.

Bird was productive when he returned from the surgery in September. In 29 games, he hit eight home runs, four doubles and 25 RBIs. He had another three homers in 13 playoff games.

That display of his power, combined with a similar flash of it when he arrived in the majors with the Yankees in 2015 (11 home runs, 31 RBIs, .871 OPS in 46 games), has had the front office and coaching staff anticipating 2018 to be a big year for the first baseman.

Part of that optimism stemmed from the fact that Bird’s left-handed bat has been expected to break up the right-handed-hitting trio of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez in the heart of the Yankees’ lineup. Boone has said that in a perfect world, he would like to keep Bird in the No. 3 spot between Judge and Sanchez.

As encouraged as the Yankees might have been for Bird’s season, it was still hard to ignore the type of spring training he had been having at the plate. Through 18 games, he scuttled to a .154 (8-for-52) batting average. He also had racked up 16 strikeouts and had just one home run and four RBIs.

Injuries have marred Bird’s time in a Yankees uniform. In addition to last year’s ankle problems, Bird missed all of the 2016 season as he recovered from shoulder surgery.

“You always feel bad when somebody’s worked hard to put themselves into a position, and you understand what we think of him as a player and what we believe his ceiling is,” Boone said. “So the biggest thing for him to go out and prove, that will be his health. And we think that’s the only thing in his way right now to becoming a premium player.”

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Social media reacts to the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the 2020 World Series

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The 2020 World Series is in the books and the Los Angeles Dodgers are baseball’s champions after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in the series.

After getting only two hits through the first five innings, the Dodgers’ offense got going in the sixth inning when L.A. scored two runs.

That offense came after Rays manager Kevin Cash removed starter Blake Snell from the game. To that point, the top three hitters in the Dodgers’ lineup had each struck out twice against Snell.

The decision to take out Snell after 5⅓ innings when he had given up only two hits and struck out nine will be highly scrutinized. Social media was quick to react.

After the first inning when Randy Arozarena homered for Tampa Bay’s only run, the Dodgers’ bullpen shut down the Rays, and Mookie Betts put the exclamation point on the win with an eighth-inning home run. Here’s how social media reveled in the Dodgers’ first World Series win since 1988.

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Los Angeles Dodgers favored to repeat as World Series champs in 2021

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The Los Angeles Dodgers, fresh off of winning their first World Series title since 1988, have been installed as the favorites to win next year’s World Series, too.

The Dodgers, who finished off the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in a clinching Game 6 Tuesday in Arlington, Texas, head into the offseason at +400 to win the 2021 World Series at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. The New York Yankees are next at +650, followed by the San Diego Padres at +850.

The Dodgers practically went wire-to-wire as the favorites to win this year’s World Series title and were the betting favorite in each of their 78 games, including in the postseason. They overcame a 3-1 deficit to the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series and outlasted the Rays in a hard-fought World Series to win the franchise’s seventh championship.

The Rays are +1,000 to win next season’s World Series, followed by the Braves and Chicago White Sox, who are each at +1,200. The Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics are +1,400, followed by the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, who are each +2,000.

The Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are each +2,500, followed by the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals, who are all at +3,000.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the longest odds at 300-1 at Caesars Sportbook by William Hill, with the Detroit Tigers also facing long odds at 200-1.

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Champs! The best Dodgers team ever ends L.A.’s 32-year title drought

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The Kirk Gibson home run had endured, but it had also run its course. The clip remained a constant presence around the Los Angeles Dodgers, consuming their broadcasts and playing on a near-constant loop at their stadium. It stood as the seminal moment from a bygone era, of a championship captured more than three decades earlier. A new memory had long been desired.

“We’ve heard it a lot, and we’ve seen a lot of highlights, and it’s fantastic,” Dave Roberts, the fifth-year manager, said. “But we wanna make our own mark on Dodgers history.”

On Tuesday night, in a neutral stadium 1,400 miles away, at the conclusion of a bizarre season played amid a global health crisis, these Dodgers finally made their mark. Their 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 6 of the World Series won them their first championship since Gibson famously hobbled to the batter’s box in 1988, a fitting coronation for a dominant franchise.

Tony Gonsolin, counted on to function as a traditional starter, recorded only five outs. But four relievers — Dylan Floro, Alex Wood, Pedro Baez and Victor Gonzalez — retired 13 of the next 14 batters, keeping the game within reach long enough for the Dodgers to get past an electric Blake Snell and tap into the Rays’ bullpen.

After Rays manager Kevin Cash turned to Nick Anderson with one on, one out and the top of the order due up a third time in the sixth, the Dodgers’ offense finally came alive. Mookie Betts doubled, Austin Barnes scored on a wild pitch, and Betts slid home safely on a grounder to the right side. Betts, the offseason acquisition who has somehow exceeded expectations, tacked on an important insurance run with a solo homer in the eighth, and Julio Urias cruised past the finish line, leading the Dodgers to the title — 16 days after the Los Angeles Lakers did the same.

Roberts, second-guessed for a litany of his October decisions in recent years, is a champion. Justin Turner, a lifelong Dodgers fan who identifies Gibson’s homer as his first baseball memory, is a champion. Clayton Kershaw, ridiculed for his postseason shortcomings, is a champion. Kenley Jansen, stripped of his title as the team’s closer, is a champion.

The Dodgers, division champions for eight straight years, are finally champions again.

“We’ve been through a lot as a team, especially the guys who have been here for as long,” utility infielder Enrique Hernandez, who has finished his sixth and perhaps final season with the Dodgers, said before Game 6. “And the guys who have been here before me have been through even more.”

Their journey began with the most aggressive move of the Andrew Friedman era, finalized on Feb. 10, when a substantial chunk of a promising future was sent to the Boston Red Sox for one season of Betts. The spring training that followed filled Friedman with a level of optimism he rarely allows. The older players looked sharp, the younger players had come into their own, and Betts was already striking an important tone about commitment.

Then the coronavirus pandemic swept through the United States, canceling what remained of spring training and shutting down the sport for more than three months.

“The most difficult thing professionally during the quarantine period was the periods of time when I felt like we would never get a chance to watch this team play,” Friedman said. “That was extremely difficult.”

When Major League Baseball resumed in July, the Dodgers proved to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history.

They won 43 of their 60 games and finished with the fourth-highest per-game run differential in the modern era. Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy and Joc Pederson struggled through a shortened, fan-less season with no access to in-game video, but the Dodgers’ offense still led the majors in runs. Their starting rotation lost the likes of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and David Price, the latter of whom opted out, and yet it still boasted the sport’s second-lowest ERA. Betts, signed to a record extension before Opening Day, played like an MVP. Corey Seager returned to being one of the game’s best shortstops. Dustin May and Gonsolin each made their case for Rookie of the Year honors. Will Smith emerged as a premier catcher. And Kershaw tapped back into the stuff of his prime.

The Dodgers swept through the first two rounds of an expanded postseason, and it wasn’t until they faced the upstart Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series that they truly felt challenged.

“We showed up and out-talented everybody every day, and it was easy,” longtime Dodgers pitcher Wood said. “We never had much of a challenge in the regular season or the first two rounds, and then you get punched in the face, go down 2-0, and it’s like, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’ We had just been out-talenting everyone the whole entire season, and we didn’t really know what we were made of, who we were, truly, as a team.”

The Dodgers split the next two games, fell behind 3-1, and were eager to find out. The extensive text chain involving every member of the team — including Price, who made his presence felt despite his absence — began to develop a theme built around the possibility of accomplishing something special. What followed were three consecutive wins — all of them tight, all of them involving a game-changing defensive play from Betts — and a feeling of invincibility.

The World Series functioned as a coronation. Their fans traveled en masse, making a neutral-site, quarter-capacity stadium feel like an enduring home venue. The Dodgers’ offense — led by Seager, Turner and Muncy in the Nos. 2-4 spots — set new benchmarks for home-run variance and two-out production. Kershaw won two games in the same postseason series for the first time in his career. Walker Buehler proved himself, once again, as a bona-fide ace.

The Dodgers stomached a heart-wrenching walk-off loss in Game 4, committing a comedy of errors to let two runs score in the bottom of the ninth — but they came right back to win Game 5. In Game 6, the Dodgers did what they do best — keep the game close, wait out a dominant starting pitcher and pull away late.

“There’s been a lot of times where we’ve sat as a group, we’ve sat in front of you guys [the media] and we’ve talked internally and to you guys about, ‘Oh, this is the best team we’ve ever played on,'” Hernandez said. “This season, I think, we can all agree that this is the best team we’ve seen since we’ve been here.”

The 2020 campaign was unlike any other, with protocols that oftentimes sapped joy from the players. The shortest, most unconventional regular season was followed by the longest, most volatile postseason. And it was the Dodgers, trapped inside a Dallas bubble for most of October, who conquered it. When it began, they were asked if winning a championship this year would feel as thrilling.

By the end of it, many had come around on the thought that it might be even more special.

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