D.J. Short

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 27:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees celebrates with Brian McCann #34 of the New York Yankees after hitting a solo home run against the Texas Rangers in the top of the sixth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Alex Rodriguez celebrates 40th birthday with a home run


Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez rang in his 40th birthday tonight by doing exactly what he’s been doing for much of the past 20 years: Hitting home runs. Watch him take Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison deep:

Rodriguez is now up to 24 home runs on the season as his remarkable resurgence continues. According to MLB’s official Twitter account, Rodriguez is just the fourth player in MLB history to homer in his teens and in his 40s. Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub, and Gary Sheffield are the only others.

Video: Nick Markakis receives standing ovation in his return to Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 27: Nick Markakis #22 of the Atlanta Braves acknowledges the crowd before his at bat in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 27, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

After playing his first nine seasons in the majors as a member of the Orioles, Nick Markakis left Baltimore for a four-year, $44 million contract with the Braves last December. The veteran outfielder made his return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards tonight as a visitor and received a standing ovation from the appreciative Baltimore crowd before his first at-bat. Check it out below:

Very cool stuff from the fans. And also from the Orioles, who played Markakis’ old walk-up music.

Report: The Astros are “making a big push” for Cole Hamels

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 25:  on July 25, 2015 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched a no hitter. The Philliess won 5-0. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

The Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics last week, but they are still thinking big as they make a push for the postseason. According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Astros “remain in the thick” of the bidding for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and are “making a big push” to get a deal done.

We heard yesterday that there is “momentum building” toward a trade involving Hamels, who threw a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday. The Dodgers and Rangers have been considered the favorites in recent days, but the Yankees, Giants, Cubs, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks are among the other possibilities. Hamels can block a trade to 20 teams and it’s unclear whether he would sign off on a trade to Houston.

Hamels, 31, owns a 3.64 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 137/39 K/BB ratio in 128 2/3 innings this season. He’s owed $22.5 million per season from 2016-2018 and his contract includes a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for 2019.