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A-Rod’s Grand Slam, Rivera’s Injury, and Other News From Yankeeland

The Yankees cruised to a 6–1 victory last night behind the pitching of CC Sabathia (who out-dueled fellow All-Star Trevor Cahill) and the bat of Alex Rodriguez, who homered twice, including his third grand slam of the season. A-Rod's updated career numbers: 597 home runs, and 21 grand slams, tying him for second all-time in that category with Manny Ramirez and moving him two behind Lou Gehrig for the career record.

In other Yankee news, Mariano Rivera announced yesterday that he'll be skipping next week's All-Star Game because of a pair of injuries: a nagging one on his left side, and a right knee injury sustained shagging fly balls in Los Angeles. Joe Girardi called it "nothing serious" and Rivera, who said he'll be available to pitch through Sunday, added that he'll rest over the break and, "Hopefully this will take care of itself." All of which sounds encouraging enough, though there are few scarier words than "multiple Mariano Rivera injuries."

In still more Yankee-related All-Star news, Robinson Cano, whose swing has apparently been just a bit too good lately, will swing away in Monday's Home Run Derby. Hitting coach Kevin Long would prefer he not participate, and Joe Girardi isn't thrilled about it either. One assumes Cano did not consult with Bobby Abreu before agreeing to take part.

Finally, in what we can all hope is the last time we'll see the name Dallas Braden — at least until the Yankee Stadium crowd boos the hell out of him when the teams meet in the Bronx later in the season — the pitcher, as a goodwill gesture, sent A-Rod a package that included a ball from his perfect game and a signed poster that read: "Dear Alex, here's the poster you requested. I think you're right, it will look great over your mantel ... I know you realize it's all in fun." Which makes sense, because everyone knows that preparing gift baskets is how they roll in the 209.

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Photo: Brad Mangin/Getty Images