Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is ready to shift his minor league rehab assignment to another one of the organization’s lower-level affiliates.
A-Rod finished 0-for-2 on Tuesday in his first rehab game with the Low-A Charleston RiverDogs and was 0-for-2 again on Wednesday evening, grounding out twice on the infield. But he had no issues with his surgically-repaired hip on either night and was able to play third base for a total of seven frames without experiencing any physical or rust-related issues.
Rodriguez will continue to slowly work his way around the Yankees’ minor league system until he’s comfortable playing full nine-inning games. He had hip surgery last January and has been out all season.
The 37-year-old is on track to return to the Yankees’ active roster shortly after the All-Star break.
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.