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Seth Maness is back in the majors less than nine months after elbow surgery

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The Royals announced a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday. The club selected the contracts of relievers Al Albuquerque and Seth Maness from Triple-A Omaha. To create roster space, the Royals designated infielder Christian Colon and 1B/OF Peter O’Brien for assignment and optioned pitcher Jake Junis to Omaha.

Maness, 28, is the big story here. The right-hander is back less than nine months after undergoing primary repair surgery on his right elbow. Primary repair surgery is an alternative to Tommy John surgery that involves “repair and buttressing” of the existing ligament at the bone as opposed to reconstruction of the ligament, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explained in January.

Maness made three rehab appearances with Omaha, giving up a run on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings. If Maness can stay healthy, the procedure he underwent could become an option for more and more pitchers who may not be able to afford missing one or two years to Tommy John surgery.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.