Alex Rodriguez misses sixth straight game with sprained thumb

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Alex Rodriguez is out of the starting lineup for the sixth straight game tonight due to a sprained left thumb. But it isn’t all bad news.

According to the Associated Press, Rodriguez was encouraged after taking batting practice this afternoon.

The difference? Following the advice of Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, A-Rod put a strip of athletic tape around his bat which allowed him to take batting practice pain-free.

“Today is a really good day,” Rodriguez said after hitting with two batting practice groups. “I’m really encouraged.”

“It was the best I’ve felt in over a month,” Rodriguez added. “There’s no question. Good idea by Kevin.”

While Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said earlier this week that the injury will likely linger into the postseason, anything that can help take pressure off the thumb is a very good thing. As of now, Yankees manager Joe Girardi hopes to have Rodriguez back in the lineup at third base on Saturday.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.