Dodgers, Juan Rivera closing in on new contract

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With free agency set to begin on Thursday, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers and Juan Rivera are closing in on a new contract. The two sides are discussing a one-year deal with a club option for 2013.

Rivera was acquired from Blue Jays in July after being designated for assignment. The 33-year-old batted .258/.319/.382 with 11 home runs, 74 RBI and a .704 OPS over 521 plate appearances this season, including a .740 OPS with Los Angeles. He doesn’t qualify for free agent compensation.

Assuming they get a deal done, Rivera will likely see most of his playing time in left field next season. He could also be an option at first base if the Dodgers non-tender James Loney.

Aaron Judge returns to the Yankees lineup

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The lineups for the Red Sox-Yankees game for this evening were just released and, lo and behold, Aaron Judge is back in it for the Yankees. He’ll be batting second and playing right field.

Judge was activated four days ago but had been limited to defense and base running. As of yesterday signs pointed to him not hitting today, but he took swings in a simulated game for the second straight day today — taking advantage of the previously-scheduled day game being moved to this evening — and things must’ve gone well.

Judge has been out since late July due to a fractured wrist suffered when he was hit by a fastball from Royals pitcher Jakob Junis. He has taken longer than expected to recover from the injury and the Yankees have felt his absence as he was hitting .285/.398/.548 with 26 home runs and 61 RBI in 447 plate appearances when he went down and no one has, obviously, been able to replace his production.

Now he’s back to help the Yankees fend off the A’s for the top Wild Card spot.