Report: Yankees adding Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez to mix

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CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman indicates that the Yankees have agreements with left-handed hitters Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez that will be finalized after the A.J. Burnett deal is approved by the league.

The Yankees looked at picking up a left-handed option at DH in a Burnett trade and reportedly had a deal done for Bobby Abreu, only to have Burnett reject the trade to Anaheim. They also showed interest in Garrett Jones in talks with Pittsburgh and in Cleveland’s Travis Hafner.

However, since those plans fell through, Ibanez appears set to get the gig. He’ll likely start at DH against most right-handers and take a seat in favor of Andruw Jones against lefties. The Yankees also figure to have Alex Rodriguez and other starters DH once in a while.

Ibanez, 39, hit .245/.289/.419 for the Phillies last season. It was his worst campaign since 2000, but he did play somewhat better after a brutal April. For what little it’s worth, he’s gone 7-for-23 with two homers and two doubles in six games at new Yankee Stadium.

Chavez will be re-signing with the Yankees after hitting .263/.320/.356 in 160 at-bats last season. His inclusion should complete the bench, which will also include Jones, Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli. Barring an injury, there won’t be any room for outfielders Chris Dickerson and Justin Maxwell or infielder Ramiro Pena.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.

The Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field

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Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.

The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.

The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.

The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.

The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.

Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.