With Sunday’s game, Ivan Rodruiquez officially appeared in his 2225th game as a catcher, tying Bob Boone and landing one game shy of the record currently held by Carlton Fisk. I-Rod will pass Fisk if he plays in the next two games for Houston against his original team, the Texas Rangers next week.
Rodriguez is easily one of the five greatest catchers of all time (Bench, Berra, Cochrane, Fisk, Rodriguez) and the question will be for us to debate which is the greater of the five. It’s hard to argue with Berra and all those championships, and I saw Bench and there’s no doubt that he was the best defensive catcher I saw as a kid. Fisk played forever but never got the ring he deserved, and has the greatest memorable moment of the bunch. Since Cochrane played when my grandparents were young men, it’s hard for me to discuss his merits, but he was mobile, a good hitter with a great eye, and won his share of championships. Pudge grew up as a catcher before us, pushed into duty as a teen, developing into a solid hitter with some patience and power, and then helping the Rangers make the playoffs and the Marlins steal a championship in 2003.
Eric Chavez couldn’t avoid the surgery he feared – so the year is done for the Oakland third baseman. This is surgery number five since 2007; Chavez has only played in 17 games the last two seasons and 107 since Opening Day 2007.
Scot Shields tried pitching through soreness in his left knee. Now, he’s going to have surgery to repair his patella tendon. One of the best setup men of the last five years or so, the Angels will start sorting through their options.
Another good setup man is also done for 2009 – Taylor Buchholz will have Tommy John surgery to repair an ailing elbow. For the Rockies, who have been on quite the tear of late, this may be the worst tear of the month. Last year, Buchholz was 6-6, 2.17 in the setup role, but hasn’t pitched this year since Spring Training.
Texas closer Frank Francisco hasn’t fared well with shoulder soreness, so it’s off to the DL for the time being, including more rest and possibly some rehab outings. This might be a tough stretch for the leaders of the AL West.
One more injury note – Jason Isringhausen needs 15 days to rest an ailing elbow.