• Don't underestimate the different look Brett Gardner's wheels give the Yankees into the playoffs. The guy can flat-out fly. Comparing Gardner with some of the American League's fastest players, like Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and his own Chone Figgins, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said gave the nod to Gardner. "He's one of the fastest guys we've seen," Scioscia said. "Put them all in a race and he might win by an eyelash."
• Damon, of course, can run -- though not like he once could -- and Robinson Cano and even Mark Teixeira make this Yankees team more athletic than some clubs in the past, especially when Jason Giambi was manning first. "We don't want to be one-dimensional, whether it's home runs or all small ball," Teixeira said. "Gardner gives us another option."
• Not surprising that the only form of celebration from the Yankees after clinching a playoff spot against the Angels the other night was a few handshakes and smiles. As Damon said, "Winning the division would make us a little happier. Unfortunately, this doesn't seal the deal for us like winning a World Series." Ah, how Johnny has grown from his Kansas City days.
• If Milton Bradley's apology was sincere, then why did Cubs players not even find out about it until the statement was issued? Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat Twittered that the players knew nothing of an apology until the statement.
• Indians general manager Mark Shapiro has been fiercely loyal to manager Eric Wedge, but with the Tribe having lost 10 in a row into Thursday night's series finale against Detroit and showing little sign of life -- combined with the fact that they're finishing a second consecutive disappointing season following high expectations -- he likely will have no choice but to make a change. The Indians have been outscored 65-25 during the losing streak and had scored three or fewer runs in seven of the 10 games. Indians starting pitchers were 0-9. When they took a 2-0 lead Thursday against Detroit, it was their first lead in 69 innings. Ugh.
• Talk about blowing up a disappointing team: As Wedge waits to learn his fate, only 10 of the current 30 Indians on the active roster were active with the club on opening day.
• Mr. Clutch: Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba, over his past 26 at-bats with runners in scoring position, is hitting .654.
• Jim Fregosi, now scouting for Atlanta, would love to manage again. One dark horse candidate for openings this winter: Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, who is very good and deserves a chance to interview somewhere.
• Closest thing to solid evidence of significant changes this winter for the White Sox: General manager Kenny Williams had some strong things to say to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times this week. "I know who's quit and who hasn't, who's willing to sacrifice," Williams said. "It's hard to win. Winning and success, whether it be baseball or any other facet of life, if you are not willing to sacrifice, you're not willint go put in the work, you're not going to be successful. You're just not. ... If you are not willing to do that, I can't have you here and I will send you to a better place for you."
• Loved the fact that it was Strike Out Violence Day two Sundays ago at San Francisco's AT&T Park ... and then the game was followed by a Bob Arum press conference promoting a fight between Manny Pacquiao and another guy I've never heard of. It was almost as good as the Dodgers giving away Manny Ramirez Bobblehead Dolls on Drug Prevention Night at Dodger Stadium.
Likes: The Panda Cam, as they refer to replays on San Francisco telecasts that feature Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval. ... Bobby Cox back managing Atlanta next year. Say what you will, and I know there are detractors out there who diminish his streak of winning division titles because the Braves only won one World Series, but he's a Hall of Fame manager. ... Glad X-rays were negative after Yankees catcher Jorge Posada fouled a ball off of his foot the other night. You hate to see injuries to significant players at this time of year, especially for teams headed to the playoffs. ... My Weber grill. ... I mentioned James Maddock's disc Sunrise on Avenue C the other day. It's great. Especially great is the cut When the Suns Out. ... Entourage has been especially well-written and acted this year. Last summer, I feared it had jumped the shark.
Dislikes: There were a couple of chat-room comments on the last Bull Pennings disparaging David Letterman after I gave him a shout out for the show earlier this week when President Barack Obama was a guest. Memo to you who wrote the comments: Glad you're reading. Thanks. But sorry, you're dead wrong on Letterman. He's sharp, and it's not even close at 11:30 p.m. -- and hasn't been for a long, long time. Conan is likeable and funny. But Jay Leno? Come on. He's one of the top 10 exhibits for the dumbing down of America. ... My wife has enjoyed the first few shows of Glee, and the critics love it, but I just can't go there. If I wanted to watch pseudo-Backstreet Boys videos, I'd ... well, come to think of it, I absolutely, positively don't want to watch pseudo-Backstreet Boys videos.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I ain't got much sense
"But I still got my feet"
-- Bruce Springsteen, Girls in Their Summer Clothes