Dave Eiland returned from his leave of absence, and while he wouldn't get into specifics, he described his situation as "something all of us in life go through."

Well, I think we know what it was, then: Chickenpox.

You try to be respectful of situations like this. Yet we can't just pretend that everything is perfectly fine. The fact that Eiland's departure was significant, that reflects well on his job performance. He hurt the team by leaving. Even Joe Girardi, always a team player, conceded that Eiland's absence was "unexpected."

Anyway, as Eiland pointed out, the team went from two games behind the Rays to two games ahead of the Red Sox (and three ahead of the Rays) during his time away. So it's not like the Yankees got crushed. It was just A.J. Burnett's struggles that put such a spotlight on Eiland.

--But the big story here is the presence of one Clifton Phifer Lee, who could be making his final start (for now) in a Mariners uniform. We'll see. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik wouldn't play along much. This is about all he said:  "Cliff’s a real professional. He’s been through a similar scenario like this. He knows what’s going on. He’s handled this thing tremendously. He’s a very focused guy. He's mature and a team leader. What’s important is this guy goes out and pitches like he can pitch. It’s good for him. It’s good for us."

I think the Mets will be in the Lee sweeptakes until the end. The Yankees? They'll hang around, knowing there's no harm in staying in the loop, but they'd be surprised if Lee fell in their laps. They think another team will be willing to give up more to rent Lee, and they're looking forward to pursuing him this winter for a long-term commitment.

--Crazy day for injuries. The Phillies placed both Placido Polanco and Chase Utley on the disabled list. Wow. Really, it's just more incentive for the Mets to go hard after Lee. It's looking increasingly like a season of destiny. Howard Megdal disagrees, however, arguing that the Mets should think big picture.

The Red Sox placed Victor Martinez on the DL. This condition doesn't appear to be too serious, but Boston will now play without both Martinez and Dustin Pedroia, not to mention Jacoby Ellsbury.

Did you see the footage of Joel Zumaya collapsing on the mound last night? Sickening. It's not surprising that Zumaya is out for the year, a blow to the Tigers in what looks like a very winnable AL Central.

--OK, have fun tonight.

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