Alex Rodriguez “was a little tentative, a little hesitant” in rehab game

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Alex Rodriguez continued his rehab assignment yesterday at Triple-A, going 1-for-3 with a single, and afterward told Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York that he “was a little tentative, a little hesitant” coming back from July 11 knee surgery.

Rodriguez also played six innings defensively at third base, making one putout, and is scheduled to start there again tonight, with a Thursday return to the Yankees on tap if things go well.

Rodriguez compared his current rehab to coming back from hip surgery in 2009, saying “those last few hurdles are more mental than physical.” However, according to Mazzeo’s recap of the game it sounds like he has some physical issues as well:

Rodriguez botched a pair of foul popups, failing to catch up to one in the fourth, and then overrunning one in the fifth. Both gaffes drew boos from the majority of those in attendance. … After singling in the first, Rodriguez looked tentative as he jogged around first base. He jogged to second after catcher Jesus Montero singled, but was stranded there.

One of the greatest players of all time getting booed while rehabbing knee surgery at Triple-A sounds like one of the saddest things ever, although I suppose that’s become sort of par for the course with Rodriguez.

Mazzeo also notes that he “was sporting a massive ice wrap on his right knee during his postgame press conference with the media” and Rodriguez scoffed at the notion of being close to 100 percent healthy.

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.