Back injury sends Ivan Rodriguez to disabled list

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Ivan Rodriguez’s resurgence in Washington has been put on hold because of a back injury, with the Nationals placing the 39-year-old catcher on the disabled list today.
Signed to a two-year, $6 million contract that I criticized this offseason, Rodriguez hit .325 with a .351 on-base percentage and .439 slugging percentage in 132 plate appearances for his highest OPS since 2004 and threw out 4-of-11 steal attempts before leaving Saturday’s game with lower back soreness.
Jesus Flores’ long recovery from shoulder surgery is a big part of why the Nationals signed Rodriguez in the first place, so now they’re left with Wil Nieves as the starter and likely Triple-A call-up Jamie Burke is even unavailable for backup duties because of a knee injury. Nieves has started 166 games spread over seven seasons in the majors, but the 32-year-old is a career .233 hitter with a measly .573 OPS.

Didi Gregorius continues to be ridiculous

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Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.

For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.

After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:

“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”

Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:

 

We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.