Rodriguez taking a day off from home run chase

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Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is just one home run away from 600 for his career.  Actually, he’s been one home run away from 600 for 37 at-bats now.  And he’s unlikely to reach the milestone Sunday.

According to Erik Boland of Newsday, A-Rod is not in the Yankees’ lineup this afternoon against Rays right-hander James Shields despite a tight race at the top of the American League East standings. 

Perhaps manager Joe Girardi has noticed that his third baseman is pressing.  Rodriguez told the Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Carig on Saturday that it might take him a while to get that elusive home run, so he’s clearly been bothered by the pressure.

“There’s no question, the way I’m swinging it, it’s probably going to take awhile,” A-Rod said with a laugh. “Everybody get comfortable.”

Rodriguez is 8-for-37 since hitting home run No. 599 on July 22 and his batting average has dropped five points.  He has averaged a home run per every 14.5 at-bats for his career and has averaged a long-ball every 23.4 at-bats this season.  If this power drought lasts any longer, the coverage could get very annoying.

Brewers claim Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Sunday that the Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers from the Athletics. Vogt was designated for assignment by the Athletics on Thursday.

Vogt, 32, was an All-Star in each of the last two seasons, but struggled this year. He hit .217/.287/.357 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 174 plate appearances.

With the Brewers, Vogt will likely split time behind the plate with Manny Pina. Meanwhlie, the Athletics’ catching situation will be handled by Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell.

Dallas Keuchel is unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel might not return to the rotation before the All-Star break, Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. The club placed their star southpaw on the 10-day disabled list on June 8, retroactive to June 5, after a nerve issue was revealed in his neck.

Keuchel has taken a conservative approach to his recovery over the last several weeks, and while he appears to have made some progress, still has yet to throw off the mound. The injury interrupted the start of an outstanding run with the Astros, during which the 29-year-old lefty furnished a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 through his first 75 2/3 innings of 2017.

According to Hinch, it’s certainly possible that Keuchel could return to the team sometime within the next two weeks, but it’s clear that the team would prefer to play it extra safe with their ace. Even assuming that he feels ready to reclaim his spot on the Astros’ pitching staff, he still needs to complete a few key activities before competing in another game — like throwing off a mound, for example. In the meantime, Lance McCullers Jr. will continue to head Houston’s rotation as they try to build on their 12.5-game lead in the AL West.

 

Hinch’s full comments are below: