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New York Yankees News Roundup: Soriano, Jesus and Martin

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Rafael Soriano's tight back screwed up Joe Girardi's whole bullpen usage yesterday, but he thinks he'll be available for tonight's contest against the White Sox.

  • Top prospect Jesus Montero was hurt... in a very manly way, and may miss a few days.

... "There were definitely some suspicious plays," [researcher Sean] Deveney said, and most of them involved outfielder Max Flack.

In the fourth game, Flack was picked off not once, but twice. Flack turned a catchable fly ball in the sixth and final game into an error that allowed two runs to score in the Red Sox's 2-1 win.

And there was the time Babe Ruth came to the plate for the Red Sox - a pitcher at the time, but emerging as one of the game's best hitters - and the Cubs' pitcher, Lefty Tyler, saw that Flack was not playing deep enough in right field.

"He waved him back and Flack just stood there," Deveney said. "Sure enough, Babe hit one over his head" for a triple that scored two runs.

If true, it would mean Chicago-based clubs took money in consecutive years to lose the World Series.

  • The story of Russell Martin -

That tag - "lazy" - dogged Martin during his final seasons in L.A., and he acknowledges now that some unspecified off-field issues led to a drop in production, which in turn sapped him of his motivation.

"It just wasn't as much fun playing the game," he said. "And when you're not having fun playing, it all snowballs, and you have a hard time motivating yourself to get out there."

His hip injury - at first diagnosed, mistakenly, as a torn labrum, which could have been career-threatening - gave Martin the time and space to rethink his career trajectory and revive his inner drive.

  • The percentage of black major leaguers has declined in recent years, from 19% in 1995 to 8.5% this season. Why do you think that is?