Alex Rodriguez back in Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon

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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.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.