After the Yankees finally got their first hit off Max Scherzer — a Robinson Cano flare to left in the sixth inning — Alex Rodriguez came up for the third time in Sunday’s Game 2 and popped out to shallow right. He’s now 0-for-7 with a walk in the series.
This isn’t about A-Rod choking. This is about the future Hall of Famer being banged up and ineffective. He hit .191/.345/.353 with three homers in 68 at-bats after coming off the disabled list in August. He finished the season 6-for-32 with one homer in nine games after returning from a thumb injury.
So, it’s past time for Joe Girardi to react. If Rodriguez starts hitting, he can always be moved back up to the cleanup spot. However, he has no business being there right now, and one can expect right-handers to start pitching around No. 3 hitter Robinson Cano if the Yankees leave him there. Mark Teixeira is the better option right now.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.