A few items of note out of the AL East, where the Yankees lead the Red Sox by 2 1/2 games through Thursday's action …
- Yankees setup man David Robertson has pitched so well this season that Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders whether we're watching the development of Mariano Rivera's heir apparent as New York's closer. Rivera is under contract through next season.
- Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is in the thick of MVP talks because of his stellar season, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, but he's also an affable, charitable, humble and highly intelligent person. He's the Yankees' player rep for the MLBPA and is one of two league-wide reps along with Craig Counsell of the Brewers. Crasnick's piece is an excellent read.
- Not much was thought of it when the Red Sox acquired Mike Aviles from the Royals, but the utility infielder is preparing himself for what could be an important postseason role, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Aviles isn't a prototypical burner but is an efficient basestealer, according to Bradford, and could pinch-run in the postseason in a big spot — a la Dave Roberts in 2004.