Baseball notebook: Former major-league catcher Cal Neeman dies

Baseball notebook: Former major-league catcher Cal Neeman dies

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Former major-league catcher Cal Neeman, a Valmeyer native, died Thursday at his home in Lake Saint Louis. He was 86.

Neeman, originally signed by the New York Yankees, played seven seasons in the majors with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators. His best season was his rookie year with the Cubs in 1957 when he hit .258 with 10 homers and 39 runs batted in as their regular catcher. Neeman hit 12 homers, drove in 29 runs and batted .259 for the Cubs in 1958.

Visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Pitman Funeral Home in Wentzville. The funeral is Monday at 10 a.m. at Living Lord Lutheran church in Lake Saint Louis. (Rick Hummel)

Tulowitzki returns to Blue Jays • Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was back in the AL East champion Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup after missing three weeks because of injuries.

Tulowitzki hadn’t played since Sept. 12, when he cracked his scapula and bruised muscles in his upper back in a collision with teammate Kevin Pillar in a game against the New York Yankees.

“Excited to get back to playing,” he said before going two for five in an 8-4 victory. “Overall it’s good enough to play. It’s just like any time with an injury, probably that area is a little bit sore. To be able to swing felt good, so it tells me I’m ready.”

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tulowitzki will get Saturday off and then play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Rays.

“The key is he feels fine,” Gibbons said. “Try to get some timing going now. It will definitely help him.”

Mets’ Matz has bad back • Pitcher Steven Matz’s back injury could prevent the rookie from starting for the New York Mets against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL division series.

New York said Matz woke Tuesday with a sore back. His start was pushed back at first by a day to Thursday and then he was scratched.

Now the Mets are not counting on him to pitch this weekend against Washington in their final regular-season series.

Bartman won’t attend Cubs’ wild-card game • Steve Bartman will not attend the Chicago Cubs’ first playoff game in seven years despite a campaign designed to raise money to get him there, ESPN.com reports.

A GoFundMe page started by Keque Escobedo was more than halfway to its goal of $5,000. Reached Friday, a longtime spokesman for Bartman said thanks, but no thanks.

“It’s nice of these people to think of Steve, but he won’t be taking advantage of the offer,” Frank Murtha said. “He’s perfectly capable of attending the game on his own, though he has no intention of being at the wild-card game.”

Bartman hasn’t spoken publicly since becoming part of baseball lore in October 2003. With the Cubs leading the Marlins 3-0 in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, Bartman was vilified for putting his hands on a foul ball that appeared to be a potential catch by Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. The Cubs went on to lose the game and blow a 3-2 series lead, and they haven’t won a postseason contest since.

White Sox expect Ventura to return • Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said he expects manager Robin Ventura to return next season.

Hahn said bench coach Mark Parent’s contract will not be renewed and that assistant hitting coach Harold Baines has requested to move into an ambassador role. Ventura and the rest of the staff are expected back.

“Obviously, everyone with this organization is extremely disappointed with the way the season has played out,” Hahn said. “We have already begun the work of trying to address several of the areas in which all of us need to improve in order to get us to the level that we want to get to for the future.”

Votto ties Rose’s Reds mark • Joey Votto tied a Cincinnati Reds record by reaching base safely in his 48th consecutive game.

Votto singled in the third inning Friday night off Pittsburgh Pirates lefthander Francisco Liriano to match Pete Rose’s mark set in 1978.

Rose’s run included a 44-game hitting streak, the longest in National League history.

Votto also reached base for the 316th time this season, equaling the club record he set in 2013.

The first baseman entered the game hitting .317 with 29 home runs, 142 walks and an NL-leading .463 on-base percentage.

Mariners’ Cano to have surgery • Robinson Cano will have surgery to repair a sports hernia in two weeks and expects to be fully recovered by spring training.

The Mariners’ star second baseman, who will turn 33 on Oct. 22, plans to play in the final three games of the season before having surgery Oct. 13.

“I was hoping not to get surgery but they did a test two days ago and that’s when we decided to do surgery,” he said.

Cano suffered an abdominal injury July 22 that the team’s medical director, Dr. Edward Khalfayan, determined to be a core muscle injury, or sports hernia.

“It’s one of those injuries that athletes can play with, and can play well,” Dr. Khalfayan said. “He has been managing it very well.’’

Yankees’ Drew likely out for postseason • New York Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew is unlikely to see any postseason action after being diagnosed with a concussion that has caused him dizziness and loss of equilibrium for nearly a month, ESPN.com reports.

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