According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Yankees manager Joe Girardi poured some cooling solution Wednesday on the idea that third baseman Alex Rodriguez might be activated from the 15-day disabled list in time for Thursday night’s series-opening game against the Twins.
A-Rod went 4-for-10 with a double and a home run during a successful four-game minor league rehab assignment and has reported no lingering pain or discomfort in his surgically-repaired right knee, but the Yankees want to play it safe and may ease their veteran slugger back into action.
Here’s Girardi, speaking to Hoch and the Yankees’ other beat reporters:
“Our plans right now are still to bring him to Minnesota tomorrow if everything goes OK,” Girardi said. “We may not activate him. We may just have him go through some things for a couple of days, then wait a couple of days to activate him.”
Rodriguez, 35, was batting .295/.366/.485 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI in 344 plate appearances before his knee procedure. The Yankees have been relying on Eduardo Nunez and Eric Chavez at the hot corner.
UPDATE, 10:40PM: According to Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, Rodriguez told reporters at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that he will not be playing for the Yankees on Thursday night.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.