Alex Rodriguez could return from broken hand Monday

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Barring a setback Alex Rodriguez could come off the disabled list and rejoin the Yankees’ lineup as soon as Monday, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

Rodriguez is currently rehabbing his broken hand at Single-A and has been sidelined for more than a month, during which time the Yankees are just 17-16 despite Eric Chavez hitting .342 as the fill-in third baseman.

In fact, Chavez has played so well in Rodriguez’s absence that manager Joe Girardi seems likely to keep them both in the lineup together by playing one of them at designated hitter. Chavez seeing some time at first base is also possible.

Before breaking his hand Rodriguez hit .276 with 15 homers in 94 games for an .806 OPS that is both solidly above average and the worst mark of his career at age 36.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.