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Yankees aiming to acquire Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez

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About four hours remain until MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline. And things are really starting to heat up.

According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are “trying for” Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.

The ‘Stros have already parted with outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, and are now trying to unload the $28 million or so that is remaining on Rodriguez’s contract.

Wandy has posted a cool 3.47 ERA and 1.295 WHIP in 19 starts this season, fanning 106 batters and walking only 38 in 122 total innings.

He’s owed $10 million next season, $13 million in 2013, and has a $13 million club option (or $2.5 million buyout) for 2014. His 2011 salary is $7 million.

UPDATE, 11:45 AM: According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Astros will have to kick in “big money” in order to pull off a trade. The two sides aren’t “anywhere near a deal” at the moment.

UPDATE, 12:55 PM: FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that a Rodriguez trade is “50-50” to get done before today’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. The Yankees are believed to be his primary suitor.

UPDATE, 2:03 PM: As SI.com’s Jon Heyman notes, Wandy is likely to pass through waivers because of his oversized contract. The Yankees could try again in August if they’re unable to swing a deal today.

UPDATE, 2:54 PM: Sherman says the Yankees’ talks for Wandy are now dead.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.