It wasn’t too long ago that we were hearing reports that Alex Rodriguez might beat Derek Jeter back from the disabled list. Well, that obviously didn’t happen. But now CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is hearing that A-Rod might not even be ready when his 20-day rehab clock expires later this month.
As far as his rehab from his second extensive hip operation is concerned, Rodriguez is said to be experiencing “regular soreness” and although he is not in pain, even people close to him say he is “definitely not ready” for the big leagues with only 10 days to go in the rehab process. Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who turns 38 later this month, speaks hopefully about his return to the field, suggesting to friends he’d expect to move up from Class A Tampa to Double-A Trenton sometime next week with an eye on July 22, which is the day after his allotted 20-day rehab expires. If he isn’t ready for that game, that would be a major setback, as he can’t simply re-start rehab but must wait five more days to re-start rehab.
“I don’t think anybody thinks he’ll be back then. Yankees people don’t think he’s up to it physically,” one source said.
Rodriguez, who had hip surgery in January, began his rehab assignment back on June 30. The 37-year-old hasn’t been able to shake the rust at the plate quite yet, as he’s just 2-for-15 (.133) with zero extra-base hits, one RBI and three strikeouts in seven games between Class A Charleston and High-A Tampa. His game tonight was rained out.
While the timeline for his return is looking cloudy at the moment, Rodriguez will reportedly meet with MLB investigators tomorrow about his alleged connections to Biogenesis. It’s unlikely that much will come out of it, as he’s expected to use his “Jenkins” rights and essentially plead the fifth.
The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.
It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:
We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.
While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.
Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.
Twins’ right-handed pitching prospect Yorman Landa passed away in a tragic car accident on Friday night, per a team statement. According to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, 22-year-old Landa was in the passenger seat of the vehicle when it struck a fallen tree.
Daniel Szew, Landa’s agent, spoke highly of the young pitcher, who was one of his first clients back in 2010. Szew acknowledged Landa for helping him expand his company, LA Sports Management, and referred to the late pitcher as a leader and his “little brother.”
He was very even-keeled,” Szew said. “That was his personality. He wasn’t wild. That’s why this is so tragic. He wasn’t a wild guy. He was a happy-go-lucky guy who took life as it came, and he was super happy — always happy.
If leadership was one facet of Landa’s personality, so was loyalty. The 22-year-old agreed to a minor league contract with the Twins on Tuesday after getting cut from the 40-man roster, fulfilling a promise to re-sign with the club despite fielding multiple offers from competing teams. The deal included an invite to spring training, and comments from his agent suggested that the right-hander was “super confident” he’d break through to the major leagues in 2017, notwithstanding a troublesome shoulder injury that hampered his progress in High-A Fort Myers during the 2016 season.
“He never wanted to leave,” Szew told Berardino. “It was the only organization he ever knew.”
Our condolences go out to Landa’s family and the Twins organization during this terrible time.