The Yankees’ 200 million dollar dynasty took a hit over the weekend when Gary Sheffield fell down and went boom on his widdle thumb. He likely tore some tendons and will miss from eight to twelve weeks. Excuse me, while I play the world’s smallest violin in sympathy for the Yankees.

The ironic thing is that two separate incidents involving the Cubs apparently contributed to this injury. Back on July 10 of last year, Sheffield stole third base in a game at Wrigley and jammed the thumb.

Then, in game three of the NLCS, Mark Prior plunked Sheff on the same thumb.

The Yankees do have some options in the outfield while Gary is napping on the DL. They could move Hideki Matt Suhey to right and play Kenny Lofton in center and Bernie Williams (when healthy) in left. This makes sense.

Or, they could play Lofton in right—which is hysterical, given that his arm is so weak that he used to have to play catch with Wendell Kim because he couldn’t throw the ball high enough anymore for anybody else to catch it.

Or, they could put Travis Lee in the outfield, meaning that they’d have a whopping four players out of position at one time: LF- Lee (really a 1B), 3B- A-Rod (SS), RF- Matt Suhey (LF), 1B- Jason Giambi (DH).

But they’ll still win 100 games, so who gives a damn?

Last March 8, Phil Nevin of the Padres was in the outfield and he dove for a ball and tore his shoulder up so badly that he didn’t return until July 24. Yesterday (one year to the day) he tore up his shoulder diving for a grounder at first base. The Padres moved him to the infield to protect him from injury (and because he blows in the outfield) and he still got hurt. Sounds like it’s time to make Phil a jersey made out of bubble wrap when he comes back in three to four weeks.

Mike Lowell will miss the next week or so with elbow tendonitis. He apparently injured himself originally during the NLCS against the Cubs. Sure…NOW it keeps him out of the lineup. Sigh.

Carlos Zambrano struck out seven in three innings yesterday and Sammy Sosa homered as the Cubs beat the Brewers 8-4. So if you apply the Brewer-to-Major League Baseball equivalency formula, Zambrano struck out three in three innings and Sosa doubled.

Scott McClain homered twice for the Cubs (which should come as no suprise, since he’s this year’s Phil Hiatt) and was so impressed, they spelled his name wrong in the subhead.

By the way, Scott, you’re going to love Des Moines. The corn’s as high as an elephant’s eye!

The Desipio Baseball NL Only Yahoo! league filled in about five hours yesterday, but there are still spots available in the AL Only league. Plenty of them. Here’s a thought. Should we scrap the AL Only league and do a 20 team (that’s as many as Yahoo will let us have in one league) league with all 30 Major League Teams to pull players from? If you’re interested in that, or would prefer that to our NL and AL Only leagues, let me know. For now we’ll leave it like it is.

The Cubs Blog, The Cub Reporter put together a roundtable discussion of the upcoming Cubs season. He said, “I assembled a crack team of Cubs analysts, the best of the best of the Cubs Blog Army.” Apparently, nobody here at Desipio is enlisted. That’s just as well, it’s not like we’re popular or anything. I’m sure nobody would have wanted to know what we said. Anyway, the Uncouth Sloth was part of it, and since he spends as much time here as he does at his own Blog, we’ll just consider him our adjunct representative.

But that won’t stop me from answering the questions anyway.

Q: Most pundits agree that the Cubs have one of the best rotations in baseball. Will the rotation live up to the hype? If so, which pitcher will have the best year? If not, who will falter, and will the team be able to overcome it?

Most pundits spend their days eating free press box chicken wings and sniffing rubber cement. One through five, nobody can match the Cubs starters. Especially not the overrated quintet in Houston which added the Ambigously Gay Duo of Pettitte and Clemens (from hereon referred to as simply Clettitte) to a guy who keeps his groin in his sock (Roy), a white man who thinks the voluntary bald head look is cool (Redding) and an overrated simp (Wade Miller). The Franchise will have the best year, because he’s baseball’s best pitcher and Matt Clement will falter because he’s a pansy.

Q: Which, if any, of the Cubs pitching prospects will make an impact on the
team this year?

Former second rounder Greg Maddux should have a pretty good year.

Q: What should be done with Juan Cruz?
Other than a membership in the Hair Club for Men, I think Juan should be given the Dave Veres-role in the bullpen (the one he was supposed to fill last year, not the one he did—unload the bases at all costs) and left alone.

Q: How much better is the Cubs bullpen this season than it was in 2003?
The difference between Mandy Moore as a brunette over Mandy Moore as a blonde.

Subtle, but effective.

Q: While there are very few questions about the Cubs’ pitching, there are plenty of questions about their offense. Will the Cubs score enough runs to hold off the Astros in the NL Central?

The vaunted Astros offense is a myth. The Cubs have better offensive players at first base, shortstop, third base, center field, right field and catcher.

Q: What sort of seasons do you expect Moises Alou and Corey Patterson to have? If one or the other struggles, will Dusty pull them from the lineup, or stick with them?

Why do we expect Corey to struggle? What did he do in 2003 that would make you wonder if he can hit at the big league level? His knee injury severity was overplayed. As for Alou, he struggles to get out of bed in the morning. But even in bed he could still hit about .320 off of lefties.

Q: Who will get more playing time at second base, Mark Grudzielanek or Todd Walker? Who *should* get more playing time?

Who WILL get more time? Grudzielanek. Who SHOULD? Walker. Todd gives the Cubs a better leadoff option, a needed lefty bat and if he’s in the field he’s less likely to annoy guys with his musings on “The Passion of The Christ.” Leave it to Walker though, to make Gruddy look like Ryne Sandberg in the field.

OK, maybe that’s why they didn’t ask me to join in.

Rosey is complaining about everything…again.

Sammy wants to hit 756 homers. This year? That’s like six a game?

Skip Myslenski says that winning the Big Ten regular season means you won’t win the tournament.

The Illini guards are good. Very good.

Marcus Fizer and his firearms might be on the street, soon.

Notre Dame thinks they can still get an NCAA bid. Sure. Whatever.

Tom Goodwin knows his role. It’s to sit there and look fast.

The always hilarious George King thinks the Yankees should just trade for Maggs or Junior now. What do they have to trade? Nuthin’.

The gay burn victim has signed with Cleveland.

Now, Sheff says he’ll gut it out with his torn thumb ligament. Moises Alou did it last year. So there.

Wait, is it wrong for a surgeon to be drunk during surgery?

Dear Abby got hoodwinked by a Simpsons fan. Good stuff. Great episode, too.

Apparently Bobby Bowden is pro-serial-rapist. Sometimes, Grandpa needs to just keep his yapper (and his pen) shut.

The world’s greatest newspaper says the Gubernator is going to sell Cal-ee-four-nee-yah to Austria.

Oh, and intrepid reader Doug Selky found this one on the Cubs from an unfortunately named Milwaukee columnist.

And an anonymous intrepid reader found this world class photo. I’m sure we’ll find many uses for it.