Alex Rodriguez receives cortisone shot in left thumb, unlikely to return until Friday

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Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees’ starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Red Sox, but Alex Rodriguez remains sidelined with a Grade 1 sprain of his left thumb.

While an MRI on the thumb came back negative yesterday, he was given a cortisone injection. It’s not uncommon for players to rest for a couple of days following a cortisone shot, so Rodriguez admitted to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he is unlikely to play until the Yankees return home Friday to face the Blue Jays.

“They told me basically to stay off it, to pretty much do all lower-body stuff, to stay away from a bat for a day or two,” Rodriguez said. “The one thing is, it’s so frustrating to come here. It’s the last time we come here for the regular season. I mean, it hurts like hell just to sit on the sidelines watching.”

Rodriguez originally suffered the injury while attempting to make a backhanded play on a ground ball in his first game back from knee surgery on August 21. He returned to the lineup last Thursday, but aggravated the thumb during the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Orioles.

Rodriguez, 36, is batting .289/.361/.478 with 14 homers, 53 RBI and an .839 OPS over 84 games this season. He hasn’t appeared in less than 124 games in a season since 1995.

Rays acquire Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins

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The Rays have acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The Marlins will receive minor league outfielder Braxton Lee and pitcher Ethan Clark. The Rays are expected to assume the remainder of Hechavarria’s $4.35 million salary for the 2017 season.

Hechavarria, 28, has only played in 20 games this season due to an oblique injury. He has mustered a meager .277/.288/.385 triple-slash line with four extra-base hits and six RBI across 67 plate appearances. He still plays decent defense, though, so that may be enough for him to take the everyday shortstop job in Tampa.

Lee, 23, was selected by the Rays in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. This season with Double-A Montgomery, his second stint there, Lee hit .318/.387/.391 over 296 PA.

Clark, 22, was taken in the 15th round of the 2015 draft by the Rays. In his first stint at Single-A in Bowling Green, Clark has a 3.11 ERA with a 50/18 K/BB ratio in 55 innings of work.

Nats players are fed up with their bullpen issues

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Tom Boswell of the Washington Post does frequent Q&As with readers and today he had quite the A to one of their Qs.

The question was about the Nats’ bullpen, which is obviously a glaring weakness on an otherwise excellent team. Following a long answer talking about the approach to bullpen construction, he dropped this:

On Friday, yet ANOTHER National simply walked up to me and said, “When the hell are they going to get this done? What are they waiting for? Waiting is just doing more damage.”

He didn’t even have to say what subject he was talking about or whom “they” were but it’s the bullpen and the Lerners.

A team has a problem when all a reporter has to do is say, “How’s it going?” and an established part of the team blasts the owners for not understanding what’s happening in their own dugout/clubhouse.

The Nats have a bit of a history venting to the Post’s reporters in ways a lot of players don’t vent, but that’s usually when things are going bad overall. These days, things are going pretty good for the Nats, the bum bullpen notwithstanding. I guess one weakness on an otherwise good team is annoying as hell.

But I guess now that they’re getting K-Rod, all of that will end.