A-Rod homers three times in win over Kansas City

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Hey, this guy’s pretty good.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez slugged three home runs and collected a total of five RBI in Saturday’s 8-3 defeat of the Royals.  He delivered a solo shot in the sixth inning, a two-run shot in the seventh and another two-runner in the top of the ninth.

It took Rodriguez a grueling 47 at-bats to climb from career home run No. 599 to 600, but he now has five dingers in his last nine games and an .896 OPS over 47 August at-bats.

Not that the Yankees need the extra help, but A-Rod seems to be getting hot at the right time.  He was exceptional in last year’s postseason, helping the Yanks to their 27th World Series title, and there’s a good chance he will play a major role this October.

The Yankees currently hold a two-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East with 46 games to play.  They will wrap up a three-game set in Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.