According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Alex Rodriguez is back in the Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon against the Blue Jays, batting fifth and playing third base.
Rodriguez hasn’t played since September 9 due to a Grade 1 sprain of his left thumb. The injury is expected to linger for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, but the veteran third baseman is confident that a new grip on the bat will take pressure off the thumb.
Rodriguez, 36, is batting .284/.367/.475 with 15 homers, 56 RBI and an .842 OPS over 390 plate appearances this season. He is 7-for-36 (.194) since returning from knee surgery last month.
Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.
While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:
A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?
Either way: big year ahead for Harper.