Alex Rodriguez began a minor league rehab assignment last night with High-A Tampa and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts as the designated hitter. It was his first game action since suffering a fracture in his left hand when he was by a pitch by Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez on July 24.
Rodriguez must be feeling pretty good, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York reports that he’s starting at third base today in his second rehab game. Even better, Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks it’s possible he could be activated from the disabled list when the team when they begin a three-game series against the Rays on Monday. The Yankees have lost seven out of their last 10 games and are struggling to put runs on the board recently, so that’s a very good thing.
Rodriguez, 37, is hitting .276/.358/.449 with 15 home runs, 44 RBI, 11 stolen bases and an .806 OPS in 94 games played this season.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.