Baseball

This Mr. 3,000 opts for a different beat

Three-thousand has always been a special number in baseball.

The Cleveland Indians honored 59-year-old John Adams on Saturday for his 3,000th game of pounding a bass drum in the bleachers in support of the team. To the longtime fan, it was like a ballplayer getting hit No. 3,000.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Adams said, his voice choked with emotion. “I’ve got 3,000 memories of games, of special plays and special players.”

Before the first-place Indians took on the AL Central rival Detroit Tigers, Adams was joined by 300 fans who played various-sized drums as they marched around the ballpark’s warning track.

Then Adams and former Indians outfielder Joe Charboneau combined on a unique ceremonial first pitch. Charboneau went to the mound and tossed a baseball – which Adams “hit” with a swing of his drum.

Adams’ first game was on Aug. 24, 1973, an 11-5 win over the Texas Rangers. No. 3,000 came Tuesday night, a 7-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

“I never intended to do this; now I never intend to stop,” Adams said. “I just showed up one night, thought it was a cool thing to do. Then I came back again and then again.”

Adams said his total includes postseason play and claims he has missed only 37 games no matter what the weather at old Cleveland Stadium or, since 1994, Progressive Field.

“The only thing that keeps me away is when I can’t get off work,” he said.

The Indians presented Adams with a check that covered the cost of what he paid for the now-tattered but still booming drum at a garage sale nearly 38 years ago — 25 dollars.

Meanwhile, Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said the team’s veteran designated hitter Travis Hafner will wear a protective walking boot on his injured right foot when not in uniform.

The Indians have not ruled out a trip to the disabled list for Hafner, who has missed the past three games because of the strained tendon on the bottom of his foot. He’ll be re-examined Monday.

SANDOVAL INJURED

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval broke a bone in his right wrist and is expected to miss four to six week for the struggling World Series champs.

An MRI exam revealed the injury to the hamate bone and the base of the hand, and Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said Sandoval probably will have surgery Tuesday in Arizona.

ETHIER STREAK AT 26

Andre Ethier has extended his major-league record for the longest April hitting streak to 26 games.

The Dodgers’ All-Star right fielder dumped an opposite-field single into left on the first pitch from San Diego’s Tim Stauffer with one out in the fourth inning in Los Angeles.

The streak is the longest by a Dodger since Willie Davis’ franchise-record 31-gamer in 1969. Ethier’s hit was his 40th of the season, tying the club record for April – shared by Mike Piazza (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2008).

ZIMMERMAN OUT

An abdominal injury to Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman that first surfaced as a minor nuisance in spring training is now a tear that requires surgery and will sideline him for about six weeks.

General manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman will have surgery in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The injury first occurred during spring training, and the injury never improved.

OLDEST PLAYER DIES

Emilio “Millito” Navarro, believed to be the oldest living professional baseball player, died Saturday in his homeland of Puerto Rico. He was 105.

The former Negro Leagues star died while surrounded by relatives, said a statement from his family. He was hospitalized Wednesday in the southern coastal city of Ponce after having a small heart attack.

Navarro was elected to the Puerto Rico Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

The 5-foot-5 infielder was the first Puerto Rican to play in the Negro Leagues.

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