Alex Rodriguez receives cortisone shot in left thumb, unlikely to return until Friday

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Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees’ starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Red Sox, but Alex Rodriguez remains sidelined with a Grade 1 sprain of his left thumb.

While an MRI on the thumb came back negative yesterday, he was given a cortisone injection. It’s not uncommon for players to rest for a couple of days following a cortisone shot, so Rodriguez admitted to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he is unlikely to play until the Yankees return home Friday to face the Blue Jays.

“They told me basically to stay off it, to pretty much do all lower-body stuff, to stay away from a bat for a day or two,” Rodriguez said. “The one thing is, it’s so frustrating to come here. It’s the last time we come here for the regular season. I mean, it hurts like hell just to sit on the sidelines watching.”

Rodriguez originally suffered the injury while attempting to make a backhanded play on a ground ball in his first game back from knee surgery on August 21. He returned to the lineup last Thursday, but aggravated the thumb during the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Orioles.

Rodriguez, 36, is batting .289/.361/.478 with 14 homers, 53 RBI and an .839 OPS over 84 games this season. He hasn’t appeared in less than 124 games in a season since 1995.

Brewers-Pirates game postponed

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Update: The makeup date has been scheduled for Saturday, July 14 as part of a traditional doubleheader, the Pirates announced.

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Wednesday night’s game at PNC Park between the Brewers and Pirates has been postponed, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Brent Suter and Chad Kuhl were scheduled to square off on the mound. Their starts will likely be pushed back to Thursday. The Pirates will host the Diamondbacks and the Brewers will host the Cardinals.

The Cubs won on Wednesday afternoon, so the Brewers are tied with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central. The Pirates are seven games back in fourth place.