Alex Rodriguez on track to return from disabled list next week

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Prior to tonight’s game against the Angels, Joe Girardi told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger that Alex Rodriguez is on track to return from the disabled list when the Yankees are on the road next week.

“I don’t know if Monday is realistic,” Girardi said. “Part of it probably depends on where he starts and how he feels in those next couple of games. But I think next week is realistic.”

Rodriguez has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on July 11 to repair a slightly torn meniscus in his right knee. He ran the bases for the first time today at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, Florida and also took batting practice. Barring any setbacks, he is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment on either Friday or Saturday.

Rodriguez, 36, is hitting .295/.366/.485 with 13 homers, 52 RBI and an .852 OPS over 344 plate appearances this season. He was homerless over his final 85 at-bats before hitting the disabled list.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.