After testing his right wrist in simulated games this week, Mark Teixeira is almost ready to take the next step. According to Erik Boland of New York Daily News, Teixeira could begin a minor league rehab assignment next Tuesday with Double-A Trenton.
The veteran first baseman said last week that he expected to be back with the Yankees before June 1, but considering that he hasn’t played in a game since he suffered his torn tendon sheath in early March, he may need a little more time in order to shake the rust. However, it’s reasonable to assume that he’ll be activated in early June if he can avoid setbacks.
Lyle Overbay has received most of the playing time at first base during Teixeira’s absence and is batting .250/.286/.467 with seven home runs, 25 RBI and a .753 OPS through 44 games. Getting a healthy Teixeira back would provide a nice boost for a club which ranks ninth in the American League in runs scored.
Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.
After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.
With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.