Alex Rodriguez to begin baseball activities Thursday

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The Yankees were notable for their inactivity before Sunday’s trade deadline, but remember that they have some pretty good help on the way.

According to George A. King III of the New York Post, Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed earlier today that Alex Rodriguez will begin baseball activities Thursday in Tampa. Rodriguez underwent surgery on July 11 to repair a slightly torn meniscus in his right knee.

“The idea is to start getting him doing some baseball stuff,” manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. “I think once he gets going, it shouldn’t take that long. It’s more just waiting for the knee to heal. I don’t think you’re talking about having to do a week of rehab games. I think once we get it, it’ll go pretty quickly.”

The Yankees haven’t given an indication about when Rodriguez will begin a rehab assignment, but they are hopeful that he’ll be ready to return by the middle of this month.

Rodriguez, 36, is hitting .295/.366/.485 with 13 homers, 52 RBI and an .852 OPS over 344 plate appearances this season. Though the knee has surely played a part, he hasn’t homered since June 11.

Pirates set to promote top prospect Mitch Keller

Mitch Keller
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MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Pirates will promote top pitching prospect Mitch Keller in advance of their doubleheader against the Reds on Monday. Confirmation of the move is still pending an official announcement, but Keller will reportedly face off against Sonny Gray in Game 2.

Keller, 23, is currently listed as the Pirates’ no. 1 prospect and the no. 16 overall prospect in the league, per MLB.com. He was selected in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft and has spent the last six years refining his technique in Pittsburgh’s farm system, where he recently made the jump to Triple-A Indianapolis in 2018. So far this season, he’s 5-0 in nine starts with a 3.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, and 10.7 SO/9 through 47 innings.

It’s not clear how long of a leash the Pirates will give Keller, though given the current state of their rotation — down to four serviceable starters with Jameson Taillon on the 60-day injured list (right elbow flexor strain), Trevor Williams on the 10-day IL (right side strain), and a handful of replacements yet to impress — they may be inclined to keep him on a little longer than his spot start requires.