While the Rays were beating up on CC Sabathia last night, Alex Rodriguez was busy working his way back into shape against minor league competition.
A-Rod went 2-for-3 with a solo homer last night in his first minor league rehab game with High-A Tampa. Serving as the designated hitter, he slugged a solo homer in his first at-bat in the first inning, doubled in the third and struck out looking in his final at-bat in the fifth.
Rodriguez was homerless over his final 85 at-bats before hitting the disabled list, but told Chris Girandola of MLB.com that he is hopeful he will be able to hit the ball with more authority following knee surgery.
“I wasn’t driving the ball like I was used to, so for me, the home run meant a little more than just a home run because the last several weeks I was playing, I wasn’t able to drive the ball. My team expects me to hit the ball out of the park and hit with a lot more production and that’s what I expect out of myself, too. So hopefully I can come back and hit the ground running and help my team win the division.”
The plan is for Rodriguez to play again today and work out tomorrow before taking the day off Monday. He will then play with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday and Wednesday before rejoining the Yankees next Thursday night against the Twins.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).