Derek Jeter grimaces in pain after breaking his ankle in Game 1 of the American… (Al Bello / Getty Images )
Brian Cashman, the New York Yankees' general manager, said this in spring training: "The story that we're too old gets written so much that at some point they'll be right."
This appears to be that point. The Yankees learned last week that Derek Jeter's left ankle had fractured once again, and he'll be 39 when he returns after the All-Star break. Then again, the Yankees thought he might be ready for opening day.
Mariano Rivera is 43, and he says this season is his last. Andy Pettitte turns 41 in June. Ichiro Suzuki is 39. Hiroki Kuroda is 38.
Alex Rodriguez turns 38 in July, when he may or may not return from hip surgery. Mark Teixeira is 33, with an OPS that has dropped for four consecutive years, rehabilitating the kind of wrist injury that often saps power from batters. CC Sabathia, 32, has thrown between 180 and 266 innings every year since he was 20.
In 2009, the Yankees won their last World Series, fortifying themselves the previous winter by spending $423.5 million to buy Sabathia, Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. Even if they want to spend that kind of money again, and they're giving mixed signals, the talent won't be there.
More money in baseball means more players forgoing free agency and signing lucrative contracts to stay with their teams. If Robinson Cano re-signs with the Yankees, the best available players in free agency could be outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury and pitcher Josh Johnson, who has thrown 200 innings once in his career.
SEC bragging crashes L.A.
As if we don't have to hear enough about Southeastern Conference superiority in football, Michael Roth and Paco Rodriguez are here to testify to SEC superiority in baseball.
The first two players from the 2012 draft to reach the major leagues: Rodriguez, who joined the Dodgers' bullpen in September, and Roth, promoted to the Angels' bullpen last weekend.
Rodriguez played at Florida, Roth at South Carolina, and the two SEC schools met for the national championship in 2011. South Carolina won its second consecutive title that year, preceded by Louisiana State in 2009.
"Since football is so big, baseball is not really known as much," Rodriguez said. "Once you get into the atmosphere, you realize how big it is."
Rodriguez said he was not awed by major league crowds since SEC baseball games commonly attract 5,000 to 10,000 spectators. He said he had no doubt SEC baseball was the best.
"Once you've played in the SEC, it's a big difference," he said.
Or is it? The last seven college football championships have been won by SEC schools. The last seven baseball titles? Three to the SEC, three to the Pac-12, one to Fresno State. Final score: West 4, South 3.
Snowed under with extra work
The Coors Field magic could be back. The first-place Colorado Rockies won their first seven home games, the only team through Friday to remain undefeated at home.
Team of the year? Too soon to tell. Team effort of the year? The Rockies already clinched it.
When an unusually large April snowstorm overwhelmed the heating coils beneath Coors Field on Tuesday morning, the Rockies dug out. They manned the shovels, some borrowed from the Denver Broncos, and about 150 employees cleared snow for hours so the Rockies could play. General Manager Dan O'Dowd pitched in, and so did owner Dick Monfort.
"I grabbed a shovel, and the next thing I know, it's noon," Monfort told the Denver Post.