The Yankees Have a ‘Little Pedro.’ Will the Results Match the Resemblance?

MOOSIC, Pa. — Baseball players, even very good ones, have always come in all shapes and sizes. Look no further than Brett Gardner (5-foot-11) and Aaron Judge (6-foot-7), who patrol the Yankees outfield together.

Pitching, however, remains the domain of the tall.

Of the 8,981 players who have logged at least one appearance on the mound in the major leagues since 1901, only 4 percent — 367 players in more than a century of games — have been 5-9 or shorter, according to the statistics website Baseball Reference. As of Friday, in fact, there were only three pitchers of that stature in the majors, the most notable being the Mets starter Marcus Stroman, who is 5-7.

Those ranks may be about to grow. The Yankees’ top prospect, Deivi Garcia, 20, who is 5-9 and 163 pounds, could become the latest undersized pitcher to reach the major leagues when rosters expand on Sunday. (Even if he is not called up then, the team said he would be a key part of its future.)

The first-place Yankees, who decided not to add any pitching help at the July 31 trade deadline, may deploy Garcia during the final push toward the playoffs. He is a right-hander known as Pedrito or Little Pedro because of his similarities — in size, homeland and strikeout arsenal — to the Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.

“I’ve had that nickname for a long time,” Garcia said in Spanish in an interview at PNC Field, the home of the Yankees’ Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. “Since before I really knew about Pedro.”

Like many young men in the Dominican Republic, Garcia dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player. As a boy, he usually played in the infield, and he said he loved hitting. But when he was 13, Garcia, his coaches and — soon enough — major league scouts discovered that his dazzling right arm might be more effective off a mound. The discovery was almost accidental, he said; he was asked to pitch one day and struck out most of the batters he faced.

Garcia embraced the switch because he saw in it a quicker path to signing with a major league organization. The play worked: In 2015, at 16, he accepted a $200,000 signing bonus to join the Yankees.

That potent arm and an arsenal of pitches were what propelled Garcia through the minor leagues this season. He began the year with Class A Tampa, but after he dominated there he was promoted to Class AA Trenton, where he did the same. That led to another move, to Class AAA, but his results — despite the increasingly difficult opposition — remained impressive: In his combined statistics this season, Garcia has struck out batters at an exceptionally high rate: 161 times in just over 107 innings, through Friday.

Garcia’s jump to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre came after an appearance in the Futures Game, a showcase of baseball’s best prospects held during All-Star weekend in July. He has sputtered at his most recent stop, posting a 5.25 E.R.A. that his coaches suggested could be a byproduct of uneven command and perhaps his struggles adjusting to the new home run-prone ball in Class AAA this season. Also, Garcia’s curveball, one of his best pitches, hasn’t been as sharp as it was earlier in the year.

ImageGarcia pitching in baseball’s Futures Game in July. Major league rosters will expand starting Sunday.

CreditDarron Cummings/Associated Press

Regardless, coaches and teammates have raved about Garcia, the son of a doctor and a baseball trainer. He has been imperturbable on the mound and shown a curiosity to improve off it, from sharpening his already solid English to perfecting his craft.

“I’ll tell you what’s impressive for his age: his makeup, his poise, his competitiveness, and what I’m learning, his aptitude,” said Tommy Phelps, the RailRiders pitching coach. “He’s able to make adjustments and understand what he’s doing.”

Behind home plate during a recent start was the best vantage point to see how Garcia fooled opposing batters despite his limited velocity and his size, which he joked wasn’t intimidating anyone. As he wound up to throw, Garcia twisted, angled his back toward home plate and dropped his arm behind his body, hiding the ball from the hitter. The ball reappeared, with a quick whip of his arm, at the last moment before being released.

Some coaches have tried minor adjustments to Garcia’s delivery, but he said that this was his natural way of throwing. It helped Garcia that his fastball possessed above-average spin and fooled batters into thinking the ball was rising, which induced swings and misses even with velocity in the low 90s. Garcia is able to slip his fastball by batters because it appears faster, Phelps said, thanks to his ability to release the ball closer to the plate than a hitter might expect of a pitcher his size. “It’s sneaky,” Phelps said.

The Yankees so coveted Garcia that they resisted dealing him for pitching help at the trading deadline, even though they had said publicly that their staff was a weakness. As a result, there was more pressure to improve from within. They banked on starter Luis Severino and reliever Dellin Betances to return from injuries in September, but also on the potential call-up of Garcia, who could be eased into the major leagues by working out of the bullpen, like other top pitching prospects.

A signal that his call could come soon is that Yankees minor-league coaches have been careful with Garcia’s pitch counts all season; he was recently moved to the RailRiders’ bullpen because he had never thrown as many innings in a season as he did this year. But the switch had an added benefit: It served to audition him for a September in pinstripes.

“I have a big responsibility with this team,” Garcia said. “Although I’m 20 years old, I want to show that they made a good decision by not trading me and leaving me on the team to help in any which way I can.”

To do so, he will have to push back against deeply held conventional wisdom about pitchers. With pitchers throwing harder than ever these days, durability is always a concern. Add in Garcia’s size, and some talent evaluators have wondered how his body will hold up to the demands of being a starting pitcher in the major leagues.

“When I was coming up, there wasn’t much belief in the people of medium statures,” said Martinez, 47, now an analyst for MLB Network. “Thankfully I was able to stay healthy and be successful in the big leagues, and doors have opened with new studies and new ways of thinking about the players of smaller statures.

“My suggestion is that maybe he can do the things I did to stay healthy and show the world that someone of medium stature, with good mechanics, control, work habits and a lot of discipline, can also last in the big leagues.”

Growing up, Garcia said he heard often that his size would prevent him from signing with a team.

The comparisons to Martinez started when Garcia was a teenager. So he began learning more about Martinez’s career and devouring videos of his pitching, particularly examining the way Martinez threw his changeup. There is a particular three-minute YouTube video of Martinez highlights that Garcia has watched before every start for the past two years.

“It motivates me to try to strike hitters out the same way,” he said.

Yet while there are some similarities between the two pitchers, there are also many differences. Martinez was bigger (5-11, 170 pounds); he threw harder in his younger years (95 miles per hour or more); and his changeup is still considered one of the best pitches of all time. Still, when coaches or teammates call Garcia Pedrito or Little Pedro, he wears the name with pride.

While the two have never met — Martinez’s commenting on one of Garcia’s Instagram posts in July remains their sole interaction — Martinez called it an honor that Garcia looked up to him.

“I hope the future holds a lot of good for him, like it did for me,” Martinez said. “Or better.”

A Rare Greenshank Is Spotted in Russia

One of the few things known about the Nordmann’s greenshank is that it is one of the most endangered shorebirds on earth. No one had studied the bird in depth since 1976, and its nesting habitat remained a mystery.

But this summer, an American graduate student and Russian ornithologists spotted a pair of Nordmann’s greenshanks in a larch forest near a coastal bog in far eastern Russia. They shot video of one in a nest, measured and photographed four eggs and tagged seven adult birds, a few which have been spotted again as they migrated south across Asia.

“The moment of discovery — it was pure joy,” said Philipp Maleko, a graduate student at the University of Florida, who tracked the birds for nearly two months this summer, wading through the bog and forest to spot the nest. In addition to fighting off hordes of mosquitoes, the research team traveled with an armed guard to ward off bears and wolves.

Their research marked the first in-depth investigation in decades of the Nordmann’s greenshank (Tringa guttifer), a pigeon-size bird named for a 19th-century Finnish biologist and parasitologist.

The population of Nordmann’s greenshanks has been crashing in recent decades, as a result of hunting and wetland reclamation in coastal Asia. No more than 2,000 of the birds, also called the spotted greenshank, are believed to be left in the wild, said Jonathan Slaght, the Russia and Northeast Asia coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped lead the research effort.

ImageThe researchers measured four eggs that they found in a nest.

CreditPhilipp Maleko/Vladimir Pronkevich/Konstantin Maslovskii

The most endangered migratory shorebird is the spoon-billed sandpiper, Dr. Slaght said. In Southeast Asia, where both species spend their winters, hunters often kill the birds to sell for food. Local conservation groups have been paying a few hundred dollars each to the hunters so they can afford fishing nets and stop killing shorebirds. “They don’t want to be hunting birds, it’s just all they can do,” Dr. Slaght said.

This summer’s expedition captured the first video footage of Nordmann’s greenshanks and the first photos of an adult sitting on a nest. “I shared these images with some people in Southeast Asia and they couldn’t articulate their emotions,” Dr. Slaght said.

“It’s one of these mythical things,” he said, “that you know probably exists but no one’s ever seen.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership sponsored the majority of this summer’s research.

Mr. Maleko, also a research assistant at the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, said he hopes the investigation serves as a pilot project for research aimed at supporting the species’ survival. There remains a lot to learn, including the bird’s migratory paths, its food sources and the threats it faces during migration, breeding and overwintering.

The team placed colored identification tags on the seven adults and eight chicks they caught — for about 20 minutes each — and three of the adults were later seen in early August in the mud flats of Shanghai, roughly 1,800 miles to the south. The birds are expected to travel another 1,800 miles to Thailand and Malaysia for the winter, and return to Russia next spring.

Image

CreditPhilipp Maleko/Vladimir Pronkevich/Konstantin Maslovskii

Mr. Maleko arrived in far southeastern Russia in mid-May and spent several weeks with two Russian colleagues tracking the birds along Shchastya Bay, a coastal lagoon in the southwestern corner of the Sea of Okhotsk. Around noon on June 17, Mr. Maleko, along with Konstantin Maslovksii, a Russian ornithologist, and their bear guard, Alexei Kalchenko, noticed a bird resting on a sandbar and found a nest nearby. The birds returned to the nest as soon as the men finished investigating and moved away.

Mr. Maleko said the greenshanks are “elegant and majestic birds,” catching fish with their giant bills and carefully guarding their chicks. “If I was a bird, I’d like to be a Nordmann’s greenshank for sure,” he said.

A native of Russia who grew up in California, Mr. Maleko said he had long wanted to conduct research in this region. He was also drawn to the Nordmann’s greenshank. “These imperiled birds called out to me,” he said.

“I don’t know what else I’d rather be doing,” he said, “than working with these birds and trying to save them in this dangerous time of ours.”

A Rare Greenshank Is Spotted in Russia

One of the few things known about the Nordmann’s greenshank is that it is one of the most endangered shorebirds on earth. No one had studied the bird in depth since 1976, and its nesting habitat remained a mystery.

But this summer, an American graduate student and Russian ornithologists spotted a pair of Nordmann’s greenshanks in a larch forest near a coastal bog in far eastern Russia. They shot video of one in a nest, measured and photographed four eggs and tagged seven adult birds, a few which have been spotted again as they migrated south across Asia.

“The moment of discovery — it was pure joy,” said Philipp Maleko, a graduate student at the University of Florida, who tracked the birds for nearly two months this summer, wading through the bog and forest to spot the nest. In addition to fighting off hordes of mosquitoes, the research team traveled with an armed guard to ward off bears and wolves.

Their research marked the first in-depth investigation in decades of the Nordmann’s greenshank (Tringa guttifer), a pigeon-size bird named for a 19th-century Finnish biologist and parasitologist.

The population of Nordmann’s greenshanks has been crashing in recent decades, as a result of hunting and wetland reclamation in coastal Asia. No more than 2,000 of the birds, also called the spotted greenshank, are believed to be left in the wild, said Jonathan Slaght, the Russia and Northeast Asia coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped lead the research effort.

ImageThe researchers measured four eggs that they found in a nest.

CreditPhilipp Maleko/Vladimir Pronkevich/Konstantin Maslovskii

The most endangered migratory shorebird is the spoon-billed sandpiper, Dr. Slaght said. In Southeast Asia, where both species spend their winters, hunters often kill the birds to sell for food. Local conservation groups have been paying a few hundred dollars each to the hunters so they can afford fishing nets and stop killing shorebirds. “They don’t want to be hunting birds, it’s just all they can do,” Dr. Slaght said.

This summer’s expedition captured the first video footage of Nordmann’s greenshanks and the first photos of an adult sitting on a nest. “I shared these images with some people in Southeast Asia and they couldn’t articulate their emotions,” Dr. Slaght said.

“It’s one of these mythical things,” he said, “that you know probably exists but no one’s ever seen.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership sponsored the majority of this summer’s research.

Mr. Maleko, also a research assistant at the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, said he hopes the investigation serves as a pilot project for research aimed at supporting the species’ survival. There remains a lot to learn, including the bird’s migratory paths, its food sources and the threats it faces during migration, breeding and overwintering.

The team placed colored identification tags on the seven adults and eight chicks they caught — for about 20 minutes each — and three of the adults were later seen in early August in the mud flats of Shanghai, roughly 1,800 miles to the south. The birds are expected to travel another 1,800 miles to Thailand and Malaysia for the winter, and return to Russia next spring.

Image

CreditPhilipp Maleko/Vladimir Pronkevich/Konstantin Maslovskii

Mr. Maleko arrived in far southeastern Russia in mid-May and spent several weeks with two Russian colleagues tracking the birds along Shchastya Bay, a coastal lagoon in the southwestern corner of the Sea of Okhotsk. Around noon on June 17, Mr. Maleko, along with Konstantin Maslovksii, a Russian ornithologist, and their bear guard, Alexei Kalchenko, noticed a bird resting on a sandbar and found a nest nearby. The birds returned to the nest as soon as the men finished investigating and moved away.

Mr. Maleko said the greenshanks are “elegant and majestic birds,” catching fish with their giant bills and carefully guarding their chicks. “If I was a bird, I’d like to be a Nordmann’s greenshank for sure,” he said.

A native of Russia who grew up in California, Mr. Maleko said he had long wanted to conduct research in this region. He was also drawn to the Nordmann’s greenshank. “These imperiled birds called out to me,” he said.

“I don’t know what else I’d rather be doing,” he said, “than working with these birds and trying to save them in this dangerous time of ours.”

Where to Show Off Your $5 Million Horse

BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y. — They look innocent enough, the $6 pony rides near the entrance to the Hampton Classic, the splashy outdoor horse show that is the Burning Man of the boots-and-spurs set.

Around and around go the toddlers on Jazz, the long-maned roan pony, as their parents snap smartphone candids. Little do they imagine that this simple photo op may prove to have been the gateway drug to a costly horse sport addiction.

Undoubtedly if those selfsame parents paused to consider how much money they would end up spending over a lifetime on what may be among the costliest of all athletic pursuits, they would quickly hustle their tykes off to see the llamas at the on-grounds petting zoo.

But that won’t happen. This is the Hamptons, after all, where conspicuous consumption is an Olympics-caliber sport.

By midmorning on the Friday before Labor Day, the supply of $100 a pound lobster salad at the Loaves & Fishes food stand has all but run out, and the shelves at Citarella resemble those of a Gulf Coast Publix in advance of a hurricane.

The eastward crawl on Route 27 has become a cartoon motorcade of Maseratis, Lamborghini, convertible Bentleys and, during this 44th edition of the Hampton Classic, Ford F-350 trucks towing air-conditioned 4-Star gooseneck horse trailers, a form of equine transport that Horse & Hound magazine once judged as luxurious as a five-star hotel.

ImageThe reconstructed Grand Prix Arena features vertical jumps that promote luxury brands.

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

To be sure, this horse show — which showcases more than 1,500 horses competing in 200 classes at all levels of age and ability, including Olympic medalists and those with disabilities — has its egalitarian dimensions. Yet for the 60,000 spectators expected this year, at least part of the appeal is the opportunity to observe at close range that segment of the American population in possession of the greater percentage of its overall wealth.

That fact is not lost on the show’s organizers. At 25 square miles, Southampton (of which Bridgehampton forms a part) is one of the larger towns in the United States, encompassing both some of the country’s priciest real estate and, in certain pockets, people living paycheck to paycheck.

“You have houses on the beach that cost $50 million,” said Dennis Suskind, a former general partner of Goldman Sachs and president of the Hampton Classic for over three decades. “And people in Flanders” — a hamlet south of the Peconic River — “who have trouble to pay the electric bill.”

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

With that in mind, Mr. Suskind pegged admission to the show at $10, adding: “If you say you can’t afford it, we’ll let you in anyway.”

If admission is affordable, the same cannot be said for participation in a show where a four-legged athlete can easily be valued at more than half a million dollars.

As with everything else in the Hamptons, lines are ineluctably drawn between haves and have-nots on the emerald green lawns of the 65-acre show grounds, hemmed by the hedges that are the area’s defining horticultural element. A horseshoe of tented pavilions faces a newly reconstructed Grand Prix Arena, with its formidable vertical jumps paid for and carrying the logos of luxury brands like NetJets and Hermès.

Ringside tables inside those pavilions sell for the week to private spectators and corporations according to a tiered price system.

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

The least expensive cost roughly $4,000, Mr. Suskind said, and are set near the caterer’s bar or the arena entry, well away from sightlines optimal for experiencing the adrenaline rush produced by watching a rider vault a six-foot obstacle.

The sum paid by high rollers like Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, for a table closest to those jumps is roughly $50,000. “He’s not going to pay $4,000 to watch his daughter ride,” Mr. Suskind said, referring to Georgina Bloomberg, a decorated equestrian daughter of Mr. Bloomberg. “There are certain class distinctions involved.”

That may be. Yet, while the archaic essence of most horse shows has altered little over the four decades of the Hampton Classic’s existence (its sartorial guidelines alone make the National Football League’s uniform regulations look permissive) few would dispute that class is not quite what it used to be.

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

Historically, horse sport was a pursuit of the landed and, in its earliest iterations, the Classic could still be counted on to draw out what remained of the clubby Hamptons summer elite. The origins of the show can be traced to the early 1900s and a genteel horse show held in Southampton as a hospital benefit. Discontinued after World War I, it was briefly revived in the 1920s and then discontinued until 1952, an on-again, off-again history that resumed when the Southampton Horse show became the Hampton Classic in 1977.

It has been some time since blue-blood members of the East End gentry — people with names like Phipps or Murray or Bouvier — dominated Hamptons society in its broadest sense. The V.I.P.s expected over this particular long weekend, said Christopher Robbins, the show’s longtime caterer, include the “Real Housewives” Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin and Luann de Lesseps, almost birthright members of a reality TV aristocracy.

Yes, Billy Joel had also been spotted watching an equitation class on family day, Mr. Robbins said. But Mr. Joel is such a low-key constant in an area he calls home (the singer lives in nearby Sag Harbor) that remarking you have seen the Piano Man is not unlike saying you once drove past the Big Duck.

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

What is seldom mentioned is how static the celebrity population is in Long Island’s coveted summer towns. People come to the Hamptons, it seems, and stay put. This was true of the Abstract Expressionists (many of whom — Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning — stuck around permanently at the bucolic Green River Cemetery in Springs.) It was true of people like George Plimpton, James Jones and Truman Capote, the boozy “Sagg Main" set that congregated for years at Bobby Van’s.

It is still true, to judge by the number of Alec Baldwin mentions in the gossip section of Dan’s Paper, the venerable East End rag. Brooke Shields turns up routinely at the Hampton Classic, as do Christie Brinkley and Donna Karan, occasionally with Barbra Streisand in tow. Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, are regulars (their daughter, Jessica, is an Olympic equestrian), and so are Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld, Kelly Ripa, George Soros and Sting.

Image

CreditLindsay Morris for The New York Times

Notoriety seems to be short-lived here, too, to judge by the appearance of Matt Lauer, the former NBC co-anchor, at the Hampton Classic on Wednesday morning, a day of near Biblical rain. Despite having been, as Mr. Robbins said, “socially exorcised” from the Hamptons after his dismissal from NBC in 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct, there was Mr. Lauer grinning broadly beneath a Yankees cap as his ex-wife, Annette Roque, took photos of their 15-year-old daughter, Romy, in the show ring.

Contradictions, after all, are as essential an element of the Hamptons as sweet corn and farm stand tomatoes at $6 a pound. And the tales still told of talented but impecunious riders scrapping their way to the Classic on the back of some gifted nag discovered in a barnyard seem more than ever like myth.

“Everything about it is costly,” Kevin Babington, a leading rider said Thursday morning.

After schooling his award-winning Irish chestnut gelding, Mr. Babington dismounted in a tent set aside for top riders and handed him off to a groom. Son of the owners of a small department store in County Tipperary, Ireland, Mr. Babington expressed the same amazement a neophyte to the horse world might feel that one of humankind’s oldest pursuits has evolved into one of its costliest.

Bodily risks aside, Mr. Babington added, the sport is clearly not for the faint of heart. Consider, he said, the $4,000 monthly fees charged by some barns for boarding; the $1,500 Der Dau boots favored by many riders; an imposing list of tack-room essentials (bridles, saddles, martingales, girths, blankets, coolers, fly nets, galloping boots, spurs and crops for a start); the $300 fees required to enter certain show classes; the $100 it costs to braid a show horse’s mane and tail; and the fact that many horses require new shoeing almost as often as Sarah Jessica Parker.

There is, too, the steep price tag on the animals themselves. In the barn Mr. Babington shared this week with fellow professional riders there was more than one horse whose value exceeded $5 million.

“My kids are just starting to get into the sport,” said Mr. Babington, who recently swept the top three places at the Lake Placid Horse Show. “I asked them, ‘Couldn’t you take up tennis instead?’”

Thai authorities arrest Kenyan who swallowed 68…

By AFP
22 August 2019

Thai authorities arrest Kenyan who swallowed 68 cocaine packets
This handout from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board taken on August 19, 2019 and released on August 21, 2019 shows capsules of cocaine found in the possession of Kenyan national Glenn Chibasellow Ooko at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok. Photo: AFP/Handout

A Kenyan man was stopped at Bangkok’s airport for allegedly trying to smuggle more than 60 packets of cocaine in his stomach, Thai authorities announced Wednesday.

Authorities said Glenn Chibasellow Ooko, 43, had flown on Monday from Ethiopia to the Thai capital’s Suvarnabhumi airport, where he was detained.

An x-ray showed dozens of oblong items in his stomach, which were filled with cocaine, according to photos provided by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.

“He swallowed cocaine weighing 1.2 kilograms, which were in 68 packets,” the ONCB announced in a statement Wednesday.

Ooko was arrested along with Nigerian national Osita Joseph Ukpa, who police said had hired the Kenyan to smuggle the drugs.

“This is part of a drug network in Thailand,” the statement said.

Thailand has long been a major drug smuggling hub, with its porous borders and lax law enforcement making it easier for transnational crime networks to transport their goods.

The country also serves as a transit point for a multi-billion methamphetamine trade route, smuggled through Myanmar and Laos before moving on to countries like Australia and Japan.

© AFP
 

India eases foreign investment rules to aid…

By AFP
29 August 2019

India eases foreign investment rules to aid economic growth
New Delhi, India. Photo: EPA

India’s cabinet announced Wednesday that it would ease restrictions on foreign investment in four key sectors in a bid to shore up support for the flagging economy.

Asia’s third-largest economy has slowed in each of the past three quarters — losing its status as the world’s fastest-growing and piling pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government has unveiled a slew of measures in recent weeks to kickstart growth.

On Wednesday, the government approved 100 percent foreign direct investment in the coal mining and contract manufacturing sectors and allowed FDI of up to 26 percent in digital media. It also loosened sourcing requirements for single-brand retailers.

India’s commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the measures would “boost exports… and create massive job opportunities”.

The announcements came two days after India’s central bank announced a $24-billion windfall for the cash-strapped government, which is also facing a jobs crisis — with unemployment at its highest since the 1970s.

The auto sector has been particularly badly hit, with car sales plunging in July for the ninth month running, while weak consumer spending and high taxes have hit demand for everything from biscuits to hair oil.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently revealed several measures to help the economy, including bringing forward a $10-billion liquidity lifeline for credit-shy banks and rolling back an extra levy on equity sales that had spooked foreign investors.

Sitharaman and other senior officials have hinted that more steps could soon be announced to tackle economic woes.

“The changes in FDI policy will result in making India a more attractive FDI destination, leading to benefits of increased investments, employment and growth,” the government said in a statement.

© AFP

Yankees Lose Series Opener to the A’s

Jurickson Profar delivered two tiebreaking hits to atone for his role in a double play that was fully reversed, and the visiting Oakland Athletics beat the Yankees, 8-2, on Friday night.

Profar connected in the second for a 1-0 lead and added a two-run double in the sixth for a 4-2 edge. That made up for his flawed footwork as the pivot on a blown double play in the fourth that led to a Yankees run.

Oakland pulled within a half-game of Cleveland for the top American League wild card spot and held its one-game edge over Tampa Bay for the second. The Athletics swept a three-game series against the Yankees in Oakland last week.

The Yankees ended a four-game winning streak hours after placing Gio Urshela on the 10-day injured list, giving the club a record 29 players on the I.L. this season.

C. C. Sabathia was pulled after three innings with a recurrence of his knee problems, and Tommy Kahnle (3-1) allowed three runs in the sixth.

The left-hander Brett Anderson (11-9) pitched two-run ball over six innings for Oakland. He allowed six hits, struck out one and induced 14 groundouts.

The Yankees went ahead by 2-1 after the unusual replay challenge.

Austin Romine hit into an apparent 6-4-3 double play, but replays showed that Profar had pulled his foot off the bag before catching a feed from shortstop Marcus Semien. Profar was flipped by a hard, clean slide from Brett Gardner, and Profar’s throw was shown to be a hair late to first.

The Yankees took the lead when Mike Tauchman grounded into a double play in the next at-bat.

Kahnle blew that advantage two innings later. Seth Brown delivered a pinch-hit R.B.I. double to tie it before Profar’s two-run knock.

Brown added two run-scoring singles after that while Oakland pulled away. Mark Canha hit run-scoring triple off Cory Gearrin in the seventh, and Semien hit his 25th homer to lead off the ninth.

Profar’s homer against Sabathia was his 18th of the season and his second in two games.

Blake Treinen, a struggling former closer, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for Oakland. He struck out two, and Profar made a diving stop and two-hop throw on Romine’s grounder to end the game.

Two Homers by Todd Frazier Lead the Mets Past the Phillies

PHILADELPHIA — Todd Frazier hit a pair of three-run homers and tied his career best with six R.B.I., and the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 11-5, on Friday night, ending a six-game losing streak.

Michael Conforto also went deep for the Mets, who also broke a six-game losing streak in Philadelphia.

The Phillies fell three and a half games behind the Cubs for the second wild-card spot in the National League. The Mets are five games back.

Mets starter Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ ace, pitched well before turning it over to the bullpens. Philadelphia’s imploded, allowing 10 runs while recording eight outs.

Pete Alonso led off the eighth with a single off Mike Morin (1-1), and Conforto reached on an infield single. After J. D. Davis popped out, Joe Panik walked to load the bases. Amed Rosario then lined a two-run single up the middle to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. Jared Hughes came in and Frazier ripped his 17th homer to left to make it 6-1.

Justin Wilson (4-1) tossed a scoreless inning for the win after Wheeler gave up one run and seven hits in six innings

Conforto’s home run, a two-run shot off Edgar Garcia in the ninth, was his 28th this season and the 18th in his career against Philadelphia. Frazier connected a few batters later.

Nola allowed one run and four hits, striking out seven in six and a third innings.

Nola took a two-hitter into the seventh before running into trouble. He walked Davis to start the inning and Panik singled. After Rosario popped out, Frazier was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos lined a run-scoring single that tied it at 1-1 and extended his career-best hitting streak to 23 games.

Jose Alvarez replaced Nola and retired pinch-hitter Rajai Davis on a liner to shortstop and Jeff McNeil on a pop-up.

J. T. Realmuto had two sacrifice flies for the Phillies.

The Mets improved to 47-28 at Citizens Bank Park since 2012. They are 14-8 on the road since the All-Star break.

Mets second baseman Robinson Cano will begin a rehab assignment Saturday at Class A Brooklyn.

Cano tore his left hamstring four weeks ago and was expected to miss between six to 12 weeks. There is still no timetable for his return.

“He feels like he’s in a good spot,” Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said. “The performance staff feels like he’s ready to do this. This is a big step for him.”

Bobby Dillon, Packer With One Eye and Team Record, Dies at 89

Bobby Dillon, who lost his left eye as a result of childhood accidents but became an All-American defensive back at the University of Texas and a four-time Pro Bowl safety for the Green Bay Packers of the 1950s, died on Aug. 22 in Temple, Tex. He was 89.

His daughter, Karen Gooch, said the cause was complications of dementia.

Playing for Green Bay from 1952 to 1959, Dillon set a franchise record that still stands for interceptions with 52, including four against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day 1953, a single-game N.F.L. record shared by many players.

Dillon returned five interceptions for touchdowns and led the N.F.L. in interception yardage in 1956, with 244. He averaged nearly 19 yards per interception return.

But he never played on a winning Packer team until 1959, when Green Bay went 7-5 in Vince Lombardi’s first season as coach and general manager. He had planned to retire after the 1958 season, but Lombardi, impressed by film of Dillon in action, persuaded him to return.

After that one season, Dillon left football to enter the business world, missing out on the dynasty that Lombardi would build.

“He and Willie Wood were the two best safeties we ever had here,” Dave Hanner, a Pro Bowl defensive tackle who played alongside both Dillon and Wood, was quoted as saying on the Packers’ website. “When Lombardi came here, he talked about Bobby being the best defensive back in the league at that time.”

Dillon was named to the Packers’ 50th-anniversary team in 1969 but missed out on selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, perhaps because he played with losing teams.

As he told it, he first injured his left eye when he was 5 or 6 years old.

“My dad was doing something and I got a piece of metal in my eye,” he said. “The doctor removed it and it caused a little cataract to grow. They removed that.”

When he was 9, he said, “another little boy my age accidentally hit me in the face with a board and broke my glasses and cut the white part of the eye. The eye started deteriorating, and by the time I was 10 years old, it would not dilate and it was hurting my sight. So when I was 10, they decided to take it out.”

A glass eye was inserted.

Dillon played football at Texas for three seasons and earned All-American honors as a senior, when he was the team captain. He intercepted 13 passes for the Longhorns and had an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown against Baylor. He was also a sprinter on a Southwest Conference championship squad.

ImageDillon at his home this year, autographing football cards for fans.

CreditKaren Gooch

Dillon, who was selected by the Packers in the third round of the 1952 N.F.L. draft, covered some of the leading receivers of his time, including the Chicago Bears’ Harlon Hill, the Los Angeles Rams’ Elroy Hirsch and Tom Fears, and the Baltimore Colts’ Raymond Berry.

Bobby Dan Dillon was born on Feb. 23, 1930, in Pendleton, Tex., one of four children of Clyde and Ruby (Pearl) Dillon, who had a farm. The family moved to nearby Temple when he was a youngster, and his father became a police officer there. His parents were reluctant to let him pursue football in junior high school but relented when he was a teenager, and he played for Temple High School.

In addition to Ms. Gooch, his daughter, Dillon is survived by his son, Dan; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His wife, Ann (Morgan) Dillon, who also graduated from Texas, died in 2017.

After leaving football, Dillon, who had a bachelor’s degree in accounting, joined Wilsonart, a Texas-based international company that manufactures furnishings for homes and businesses. He spent 36 years with the firm, eventually becoming president and chief executive.

Dillon played down the ostensible difficulty of defending against passes with sight in only one eye.

“The only adjustment I made, I learned to have my head on a swivel,” he told The Journal Sentinel of Milwaukee in 2004. “Those guys would look for you from the blind side. Everybody knew I had only one eye.”

“What I should have done was take the eye out and wear a patch,” he said. “That would have gotten me a lot more publicity, for one thing, and it would have been a lot safer.”

His glass eye was knocked out once, during an exhibition game against the Cleveland Browns early in his career. “We had to call time out and look around on the ground for it until we finally found it,” he said. “They just popped it back in.”

Wide-awake at 3 a.m.? Don’t Just Look at Your Phone.

The only thing worse than feeling completely wired at 11 p.m. when you’re ready for sleep is being stark awake at 3 a.m. Blissfully passing out at an appropriate bedtime is cold comfort when the brain wakes up too soon and refuses to take advantage of those eight full hours. I toss and turn and scrunch up my pillow every which way, exasperated and fixated on the impending doom of the alarm clock set to go off at 6 a.m.

About half of all insomnia sufferers experience this middle-of-the-night “sleep-maintenance” insomnia, either by itself or along with the “sleep-onset” sort, trouble falling asleep in the first place, said Jennifer Martin, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.

If, after 20 minutes, you’re still up, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends stepping out of the bedroom and doing some reading or other quiet activity. But I didn’t realize that it’s actually a last-resort tactic. “Get up only when you’re so upset you can’t fall asleep anyway,” said Dr. Martin, an insomnia specialist. In fact, some of the best first-line strategies are pursued (more or less) lying down. The next time you find yourself staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m., try these six things:

For you to fall asleep, your heart rate needs to slow down, said Michael Breus, Ph.D., a Los Angeles area clinical sleep psychologist. But when you get up, you elevate it. So my impulse to use the bathroom just because I’m awake only makes matters worse. “Do that only if you need to,” said Breus, who is also the author of “The Power of When.”

And skip the middle-of-the-night snack, unless you have diabetes or low blood sugar. To prevent untimely internal wake-up calls, keep hydrated during the day so that you don’t drink and fill your bladder before bed. Don’t eat too little or too much for dinner, and keep it balanced, complete with protein and fiber, both of which help sustain blood sugar levels until morning. Most important, avoid alcohol in the evening — although it may make you fall asleep faster, it also disrupts your sleep later in the night.

When you can’t sleep, LED indicator lights on, say, printers and cable boxes can feel intrusive. The same goes for light streaming in through cracks in the curtain.

“They’re point sources of light that your eyes are drawn to, and that can keep you up,” said John Hanifin, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia who studies circadian rhythms, the brain’s internal sleep/wake cycle.

Dr. Hanifin covers indicator lights with black electrical tape and wears a sleep mask. (Our top pick has deep eye cups so your eyes can open and shut while you wear it.) Of course, avoid scrolling through your smartphone and turning on the lights. If light outside your window consistently keeps you up, it may be worthwhile to install blackout shades. Here are Wirecutter’s recommendations for the best options.

For you to fall asleep, your soundscape doesn’t have to be completely silent, but it does need to be monotonous, which signals the brain that it’s safe to sleep. That’s why rattling radiators and dripping faucets keep you up even if you hardly notice them during the day.

Some people like to sleep with a fan running. If you have a white noise machine (or an app) for bedtime, turn it on. We recommend the LectroFan or the myNoise white noise app, if you need options.

If the room feels warm, lower the thermostat — around 65 degrees fosters sleep, said Dr. Breus. Another part of the sleep equation is skin temperature. “A cool core and comfortably warm skin is best for sleep,” said Roy Raymann, Ph.D., vice president of sleep science at SleepScore Labs (maker of Wirecutter’s favorite sleep tracker). You cool your core by breathing in the cool bedroom air; you warm your skin with bedding and PJs.

Socks can also help, said Dr. Raymann, who has published research on the phenomenon in the journal Physiology & Behavior. Feet have lots of temperature sensors: When they’re warm, that information gets transmitted to the brain areas involved in both sleep and thermoregulation to help you doze off. In a small study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, subjects with socks took half as long as those without socks to fall asleep. If temperature control is a recurring problem, a smart thermostat, like our favorite, the Nest Thermostat E, lets you dial it up or down from bed via voice command (or smartphone, if you must), or you can preset it to do so at certain times of the night.

Ruminating about past events or worrying excessively can cause a surge in stress-related chemicals, which in turn sparks a rise in heart rate and core temperature. It also charges up the regions of the brain responsible for memory and emotion at a time when they should be calm.

Give relaxation techniques (deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness exercises) a try. “What works is personal preference,” said Dr. Raymann, who also suggests doing simple math problems in your head or imagining all the things that come in, say, green. “The point is to keep your brain busy with something that doesn’t require effort or trigger emotional responses.”

If your wake-up time is 6:30 a.m. and the clock reads 3 a.m., don’t think, Oh no! I have only three hours left! Negativity only sets off a stress response that keeps you up. Instead, say, Oh great! I have three more hours to sleep!

“It sounds hokey, but it works,” said Dr. Breus. Also remind yourself that even if you’ve slept less than you’d like, plenty of people do just fine with less sleep on any given day, and you will too. But if insomnia strikes more than three times a week for more than three months, and it affects your quality of life, find a sleep specialist who can help identify the root cause and customize a plan for you.

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A version of this article appears at Wirecutter.com.