Alex Rodriguez to begin baseball activities Thursday

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The Yankees were notable for their inactivity before Sunday’s trade deadline, but remember that they have some pretty good help on the way.

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed earlier today that Alex Rodriguez will begin baseball activities Thursday in Tampa. Rodriguez underwent surgery on July 11 to repair a slightly torn meniscus in his right knee.

“The idea is to start getting him doing some baseball stuff,” manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. “I think once he gets going, it shouldn’t take that long. It’s more just waiting for the knee to heal. I don’t think you’re talking about having to do a week of rehab games. I think once we get it, it’ll go pretty quickly.”

The Yankees haven’t given an indication about when Rodriguez will begin a rehab assignment, but they are hopeful that he’ll be ready to return by the middle of this month.

Rodriguez, 36, is hitting .295/.366/.485 with 13 homers, 52 RBI and an .852 OPS over 344 plate appearances this season. Though the knee has surely played a part, he hasn’t homered since June 11.

Phillies considering Chase Utley for bench coach

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Sports radio personality Howard Eskin is hearing a fun rumor that the Philadelphia Phillies are considering Chase Utley to be their bench coach.

Utley hasn’t retired yet, but he is almost 39, is a free agent and is unlikely to find anything beyond a bench role at best at this point. Time for a career change? Who knows, as this popping up over Thanksgiving makes it hard to confirm or deny one way or the other. It’s fun to think about, though. Over the past four or five years, as Utley’s production has declined, he has been widely praised as a good clubhouse presence and mentor, so it would not be hard to imagine him transitioning into a formal coaching role.

Utley, of course, played for the Phillies for thirteen seasons. If he’s going to break into coaching, he’s most likely to do it there.