D.J. Short

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics

Albert Pujols returns to Angels’ starting lineup

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Albert Pujols missed two days after leaving Wednesday’s game due to left hamstring tightness, but he’s back in the starting lineup today against the Giants.

While Pujols is back in his standard No. 3 spot, Mike Scioscia’s lineup has a slightly different look. Kole Calhoun moved into the cleanup spot while Pujols was out and will remain there today. He’s been the team’s primary leadoff hitter, but Erick Abyar will get his third straight start there today. Mike Trout remains in the No. 2 spot.

The Angels have tried multiple hitters out of the cleanup spot this season, including Matt Joyce and David Freese. However, Freese doesn’t hit righties and Joyce has struggled against pretty much everyone. Calhoun owns a .276/.334/.450 batting line in the majors and the hope is that he can function as a run-producer.

The Angels led the majors in runs scored last season, but they ranked 18th at the start of Saturday’s action.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges team won’t pay A-Rod $6 million bonus for 660th home run

Alex Rodriguez

We have heard various sourced reports in recent weeks and months that the Yankees weren’t planning to pay Alex Rodriguez his $6 million marketing bonus if or when he reached 660 career home runs to tie Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list, but nobody from the team has gone on record about it until today.

On the heels of A-Rod tying Mays last night, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that the agreement states they have the “right” to determine whether to pay him the bonus, not the “obligation.” Here’s more from Cashman:

“We’re going to honor our responsibilities of the contract,” Cashman said. “(But) how it’s been reported . . . and what the contract actually says are two different things. It’s not ‘you do this, you get that.’ It’s completely different. It’s not all of a sudden, we’re choosing not to do something. If we choose to pursue something we’ll choose to pursue it. If we choose not to, it’s our right not to. In both cases, we’re honoring the contract.”

Per Jack Curry of YES Network, below is the exact wording of the marketing agreement between the two sides:

The Yankees are arguing that Rodriguez’s history with PEDs has taken away the ability to market the accomplishment. Of course, they have shown that they are willing to sell just about anything, so this is a very questionable claim. According to the collective bargaining agreement, Rodriguez has 14 days from the time of the Yankees’ refusal to file a grievance. The MLBPA is prepared to back A-Rod if he decides to fight it.

Christian Yelich to begin minor league rehab assignment Sunday

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Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with High-A Jupiter, reports Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald.

Yelich, who has been out since April 19 with a bulging disk in his lower back, is expected to play a total of three rehab games. The 23-year-old is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday, but the plan calls for him to be activated Thursday for the start of a four-game series against the Giants in San Francisco.

It was obvious that something wasn’t quite right with Yelich to begin the season, as he struggled to the tune of a .200/.265/.222 batting line with just a one extra-base hit (a double) over his first 49 plate appearances. Ichiro Suzuki has been filling in during his absence.

Matt Moore cleared to throw to hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

Matt Moore Getty

Good news for the Rays, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that left-hander Matt Moore is scheduled to throw to hitters Sunday for the first time since his Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last April.

Moore is expected to have a total of three sessions against hitters before being cleared for a minor league rehab assignment. He’ll likely need around four starts to get stretched out, but the Rays are hopeful that he’ll be ready to join the rotation by as soon as mid-June.

Moore reached the majors with a ton of hype, but the southpaw has seen mixed results thus far, with a 3.53 ERA and 8.8 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 61 starts and two relief appearances. Of course, he’s still just 25 years old with hopefully a lot of quality innings ahead of him.

Brewers activate Carlos Gomez from disabled list

Carlos Gomez
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The Brewers have activated center fielder Carlos Gomez from the 15-day disabled list for today’s game against the Cubs. He’s batting leadoff in his return against right-hander Jake Arrieta.

Gomez has been out since April 15 due to a strained right hamstring and he has been missed in a big way. The Brewers went 3-12 during his absence and own the worst record in the majors at 5-18. While his return is welcome sight, Jonathan Lucroy and Scooter Gennett are both still on the disabled list and Aramis Ramirez is sitting out for a second straight day due to hamstring tightness.

The Brewers designated infielder Luis Jimenez for assignment in order to clear the way for Gomez’s return.