Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to return from DL on Sunday

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Alex Rodriguez has yet to test his injured calf by taking batting practice, but Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Yankees expect him to come off the disabled list when eligible Sunday.
Rodriguez did hit off a tee yesterday, and Marchand notes that he also played catch, rode a stationary bike, and lifted weights. There’s also the sense that he could have potentially avoided the DL altogether if the Yankees didn’t have the breathing room to play it safe with Rodriguez, so assuming no setbacks it’s a good bet he’ll return following the minimum 15 days off.
Whether he’ll feel good enough to play third base every day or will need some time at designated hitter is another issue. Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena have more or less split time at third base in his absence and Rodriguez hasn’t started more than six consecutive games at third base since mid-July. He’ll need a strong final month to avoid posting the lowest OPS of his career.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.