Bud Norris to make rehab start Saturday in Triple-A

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A bit of good news here for the struggling ‘Stros.

According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, recovering right-hander Bud Norris is scheduled to make a minor league rehab start Saturday night at Triple-A Oklahoma City and could return to the big leagues late next week if the outing goes smoothly.

Norris has been out since June 13 with a sprained left knee. He had a 4.81 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 81/28 K/BB ratio in 73 innings before suffering the injury.

Houston entered play Tuesday with a 28-39 record, which stands fifth place in the six-team NL Central.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.