Alex Rodriguez’s thumb injury likely to linger into playoffs

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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.

Blue Jays sign Michael Saunders

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The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement.

Saunders, of course, played for the Blue Jays in 2015 and 2016, putting up a line of .250/.336/.461 in 594 plate appearances. It was his good play in the first half of 2016, in fact, which earned him an All-Star spot and, presumably, made the Phillies think he was worth the $9 million deal they gave him over the offseason. That didn’t work out, as he hit .205/.257/.360 over 61 games and was released last week.

The Phillies will pay the rest of that $9 million. The Jays will see if he has anything in the tank to help them out.

Giants closer Mark Melancon is heading to the disabled list once again

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The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain.

This is the same injury that sent him to the disabled list last month. He came back from that quickly, but it can’t be great that this is happening again. You have to assume he’ll miss more time given the recurrence of trouble. He’s going to get an MRI too. Sam Dyson is expected to serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is sidelined.

Melancon has a 4.35 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this year. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco last December.