Alex Rodriguez expects to bounce back next season

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The Bronx Bombers have been relatively quiet since baseball’s free agency period began. That is, unless you ask third baseman Alex Rodriguez:

“The Yankees made two big moves this offseason,” Rodriguez told the New York Post by phone. “Keeping CC (Sabathia), and I expect to be who I have been in the past.”

(Quote comes via the Post‘s Joel Sherman)

Rodriguez batted just .276/.362/.461 in 428 plate appearances this year, registering an OPS under .830 for the first time since 1995. He can blame most of that disappointment on a mid-season knee injury, however, and he’s confident that a healthy winter will help him bounce back in 2012.

A-Rod has already begun his offseason workout program in Miami, three weeks earlier than usual.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.