Alex Rodriguez is back in the Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon

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While Mark Teixeira will miss his second straight game with a right knee contusion, Alex Rodriguez is back in the lineup this afternoon against the Blue Jays. He’ll play third base and bat third against left-hander Ricky Romero.

Rodriguez missed the previous six games due to a sprained left thumb. He received a cortisone shot earlier this week and felt good during batting practice yesterday, but told Ian Begley of ESPN New York that he will likely have to play with pain in the thumb “for the rest of the season.” With that in mind, he plans to use extra padding for his thumb to help compensate for the pain associated with swinging a bat.

Rodriguez, 36, is batting .289/.361/.478 with 14 home runs, 53 RBI and an .839 OPS over 363 plate appearances this season.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.