Alex Rodriguez unlikely to return until at least Sunday

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Alex Rodriguez had a successful workout before tonight’s game against the Twins, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that he is “leaning against” activating him from the disabled list tomorrow.

Instead, they could wait until Sunday’s series finale against the Twins or even Tuesday, when they return home to play the Athletics.

“He felt much better today than he did yesterday,” Girardi said. “We felt he definitely wasn’t ready to play yesterday and that’s why we wanted to go through today. And he knew he wasn’t ready yesterday. But he felt a lot better about today’s workout. I think it’s important to see how he feels later, because today was more intense than yesterday, and see how he recovers. As far as activating him tomorrow, I don’t know.”

Rodriguez, who is making his way back from knee surgery, said today’s workout was “very encouraging” and that he is “definitely not counting this weekend out.” The veteran third baseman is scheduled to work out again tomorrow before being reevaluated.

Of course, the Yankees can afford to be extra cautious here since they are virtually assured of a playoff spot. Imagine if they were playing in games that actually meant something?

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”