Alex Rodriguez may be back in the Yankees’ lineup as soon as tomorrow night after not playing since September 9, but general manager Brian Cashman revealed that the team expects his thumb injury to linger for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
Here’s what Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:
He’s got a Grade 1 sprain and it’s not going to go away completely this season. It only goes away with time, which is not something that’s necessarily in our favor. It’s a sprained collateral ligament and it’s more of an irritating thing than anything else. It could take six days, or 15 days, or 30 days, and even if he feels 100 percent, one wrong move or one bad swing or checked swing or dive or whatever could bring it right back to square one again. It’s just something he’s going to have to deal with.
Rodriguez initially suffered the thumb injury on August 24, shortly after returning from the disabled list following back surgery, and has played just nine of 24 games since then while hitting .226 (although he has managed two homers and a solid .866 OPS). He’ll fall short of 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the first time since 1997 and Rodriguez’s current .842 OPS is the lowest of his career.
The Yankees probably have the best minor league system in baseball right now and the best player in that system is, without question, shortstop Gleyber Torres. Now that top prospect is a step closet to the Bronx: he has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees don’t rush their prospects anywhere nearly as fast as a lot of teams do, but Torres, who is only 20, proved himself to be ready for the promotion. In 32 games at Double-A Trenton this year he hit .273/.367/.496 in 139 plate appearances. That OPS is almost 100 points higher than that which he posted in high A-ball in 2016.
Torres came over to the Yankees from the Cubs organization in the Aroldis Chapman trade last summer. At this rate he’ll be playing shortstop behind Chapman in New York before too long.
Dodgers outfielder Brett Eibner came into yesterday’s game against the Marlins as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. He hit a single scoring Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez and then advanced to second on the throw home. Overall on the year he’s 5-for-16 with a walk, two homers and six driven in eight games. Admirable work for a guy whose job is to be a bench bat and outfield depth.
As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports, however, he could possible provide some bullpen depth too:
Eibner has thrown several bullpen sessions at Dodger Stadium and at Oklahoma City, working on building arm strength and developing secondary pitches to accompany a fastball he said hit 95 mph in college.
The idea, still in its theoretical stages, would be for Eibner to remain, primarily, a backup outfielder, but to possibly serve as an extra arm during periods when the Dodgers pen gets worked hard. Something less than an everyday reliever but something more than the gimmick of using a position player to save the real pitchers in a blowout.
In an age when teams have cut their position player depth down to the bone in the service of adding more relief pitchers, finding a guy who can do both could provide a nice little boost, no?