Oblique strains tend to sideline players for longer than the minimum 15-day stay on the disabled list, but Brian McCann is pleased enough with how his recovery has gone to think returning when eligible Friday is possible.
McCann took batting practice yesterday for the first time since suffering the injury on July 26 and told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that “it felt fine … it felt exactly how I thought it would.”
He didn’t go all-out with his swings and still needs to avoid setbacks while participating in catching drills, but McCann talked of beginning a brief minor-league rehab assignment as soon as Wednesday.
Backup catcher David Ross has struggled filling in for McCann, who hit .306 with 18 homers and an .889 OPS in 91 games before the injury to solidify his status as one of the game’s best, most underrated players.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.