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.

Aaron Judge was involved in a weird play in the fourth inning

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.

Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.

Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.

This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.

As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.