Nelson Cruz aiming to rejoin the Rangers on Monday

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He’s coming back … again.

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, on the disabled list for a third time this season with a hamstring injury, is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday at Double-A Frisco.  This according to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas.

Cruz will play four games with Frisco and then rejoin the Rangers on Monday, the first day he’s eligible, in Kansas City.

The slugger has hit .320/.381/.587 this season, but a run of hamstring injuries has limited him to 281 at-bats and 77 games.  Still, he has 16 home runs and 64 RBI. 

The Rangers currently own an eight-game lead in the American League West and appear likely to lock up a spot in the postseason for the first time since 1999.  Having Cruz back in the lineup and healthy will obviously help that cause.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: