Japanese teams interested in Bryan LaHair if the Cubs aren’t

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Last week I wondered whether the Cubs would give Triple-A MVP Bryan LaHair a legitimate opportunity in the majors and the answer so far is yes, as the 28-year-old has played in nine games while batting .458 with six extra-base hits in 24 at-bats.

Of course, he’ll come back down to earth eventually and it remains to be seen if the Cubs have LaHair in their 2012 plans. If they don’t, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports that he’ll have no problem finding work in Japan:

According to scouting sources, numerous Japanese teams have been scouting and are prepared to make offers to LaHair, if he becomes a free agent following the 2011 season. LaHair said he has had conversations with some representatives of Japanese baseball.

It may be a moot point, as the Cubs could retain LaHair by keeping him on the 40-man roster and still not decide to give him an extended shot in Chicago, but as Levine notes they did sell Micah Hoffpauir to a Japanese team last year for $200,000.

LaHair told Levine that he’s intrigued by the possibility of playing in Japan, in part because the money would be significantly better than at Triple-A, “but the dream is to be in the major leagues and this is where I want to be.” He doesn’t project as a star or anything, but hitting .338 with 38 homers at Triple-A should earn a guy a couple hundred at-bats to prove himself.

Gary Sanchez likely headed to disabled list

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Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez exited Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rays in the 10th inning due to a hip/groin issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Sanchez is likely headed to the 10-day disabled list, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Sanchez went 0-for-4 with a walk before departing. He appeared to suffer the injury running to first base when he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in the 10th inning. On the season, Sanchez is batting .190/.291/.433 with 14 home runs, 41 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 265 plate appearances.

Austin Romine replaced Sanchez in the 10th inning and will handle the bulk of the catching responsibilities while Sanchez is out.