Mark Teixeira tests calf by running in outfield, hopes to return this weekend

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The Yankees have struggled to put runs on the board recently and have the Orioles hot on their tail going into a four-game series tonight in Baltimore, but the Bombers’ offense could be back to full strength soon.

According to Chad Jennings of the Journal News, Mark Teixeira tested his strained left calf by running in the outfield this afternoon at Camden Yards. He admitted that his calf is still a “little tight,” but plans to ramp up the intensity and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to action tomorrow night. Yankees manager Joe Girardi seems to think later this weekend is more realistic.

“I’m not anticipating it (tomorrow), but we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and watch him go through what he needs to go through and make a decision,” Joe Girardi said. “You have to make sure that when he gets out there he’s ready to play and it’s not like a 50-50 chance that it’s going to happen the first night back. You can’t take that chance. We’ve got to feel pretty good that he’s going to be able to remain healthy.”

When Teixeira suffered the injury last Monday, it was originally estimated that he would miss one to two weeks, so he’s still roughly on schedule. He would likely take an extra day or two if the Yankees still had a nice cushion, but there’s obviously an increased sense of urgency right now.

Teixeira, 32, is hitting .255/.335/.478 with 23 home runs, 81 RBI and an .813 OPS in 119 games played this season.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.