LEADING OFF: Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Cole ailing

National Sports

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Wednesday:

COOPERSTOWN CALLING

Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller will be enshrined at the Hall of Fame, a year after the induction ceremonies were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The four were chosen last year – no new members have been picked since then.

”As strange as this sounds or may sound, I’m trying not to think about it,” the 47-year-old Jeter, the former Yankees star and now an owner and CEO of the Miami Marlins, said last week. ”I just want to go there and experience it.”

In 2007, the inductions of Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn drew an estimated record crowd of 82,000 to the expansive grass field at the Clark Sports Center on the outskirts of this one-stoplight village in upstate New York. When the wildly popular Jeter was elected in January 2020 that mark figured to be in jeopardy because his fans from New York and beyond had been booking reservations well in advance.

With a mid-week ceremony instead of the traditional Sunday afternoon, school back in session and the threat of inclement weather, the Hall of Fame wasn’t offering an attendance prediction.

The deaths of eight Hall of Famers over the past year and a half, including Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson and Whitey Ford, and the lingering pandemic have limited the number of returning Hall of Famers to 31. Two years ago a record 58 showed up.

AILING COLE

The Yankees will see how Gerrit Cole is feeling, a day after the ace was pulled from a game because of tightness in his left hamstring.

Cole exited with two outs in the fourth inning and New York trailing 3-1 against Toronto. He struck out two, tying Philadelphia right-hander Zack Wheeler for the major league lead with 217.

Cole had been 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA in four starts since missing time following a positive test for COVID-19, and fanned 15 in seven innings last week against the Angels.

STRUGGLING STARTER

Dallas Keuchel (8-8, 5.22 ERA) tries to get back on track against a playoff contender when the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox visit Oakland.

Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, has a 7.26 ERA in his past 11 starts after getting tagged last Friday night in a 7-2 loss to Kansas City. The veteran left-hander went only one inning and allowed five earned runs in his previous outing, then admitted to being ”the weakest starter in the rotation for much of the year.” He might need to turn that around soon if he wants to pitch in the postseason for Chicago.

Frankie Montas (11-9, 3.68) gets the ball for the Athletics, who are chasing an AL wild card.

GET WELL SOON

Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona is resting comfortably after undergoing toe surgery, his second operation since stepping aside for the season in July.

Francona, who had hip replacement surgery in August, had the procedure Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic. The surgery was to fix his left big toe, which became infected during the offseason.

The 62-year-old Francona hobbled around in a walking boot for months before deciding to leave the team to address his medical issues. Francona will need months to recover from the toe surgery.

Bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who is filling in for Francona, is sure his good friend feels a sense of relief now that the surgeries are behind him.

”This is a big step today and he’ll get through this and he’s kind of on the rehab period and I think it’s going to work well,” Hale said. ”Get around the holidays and Thanksgiving, all should be good and that’s what I’m praying for and hoping for, for sure.”

METS ARMS

New York Mets President Sandy Alderson said pitcher Jacob deGrom’s elbow is healthy, but the team is uncertain if its ace will return this season.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner has been playing catch on flat ground but hasn’t pitched since July 7 because of a sprained elbow. The 32-year-old righty was 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA and 146 strikeouts before being sidelined.

”At this point the sprain has resolved itself,” Alderson said. ”The elbow is perfectly intact based on the MRIs and the clinical evaluations from our doctors. We need to begin to see whether this is more of a chronic issue that relates to mechanics in some way.”

Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard, slowed in his rehab from March 2020 Tommy John surgery by a recent positive test for COVID-19, is about ready to emerge from quarantine. He will begin to ramp up again in New York this week, but it’s unclear if Syndergaard will make it back in time to pitch for the Mets this season – even as a reliever.

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