Alex Rodriguez back in Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon

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According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Alex Rodriguez is back in the Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon against the Blue Jays, batting fifth and playing third base.

Rodriguez hasn’t played since September 9 due to a Grade 1 sprain of his left thumb. The injury is expected to linger for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, but the veteran third baseman is confident that a new grip on the bat will take pressure off the thumb.

Rodriguez, 36, is batting .284/.367/.475 with 15 homers, 56 RBI and an .842 OPS over 390 plate appearances this season. He is 7-for-36 (.194) since returning from knee surgery last month.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.