Report: Alex Rodriguez might not be ready when his 20-day rehab clock expires

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It wasn’t too long ago that we were hearing reports that Alex Rodriguez might beat Derek Jeter back from the disabled list. Well, that obviously didn’t happen. But now CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is hearing that A-Rod might not even be ready when his 20-day rehab clock expires later this month.

As far as his rehab from his second extensive hip operation is concerned, Rodriguez is said to be experiencing “regular soreness” and although he is not in pain, even people close to him say he is “definitely not ready” for the big leagues with only 10 days to go in the rehab process. Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who turns 38 later this month, speaks hopefully about his return to the field, suggesting to friends he’d expect to move up from Class A Tampa to Double-A Trenton sometime next week with an eye on July 22, which is the day after his allotted 20-day rehab expires. If he isn’t ready for that game, that would be a major setback, as he can’t simply re-start rehab but must wait five more days to re-start rehab.

“I don’t think anybody thinks he’ll be back then. Yankees people don’t think he’s up to it physically,” one source said.

Rodriguez, who had hip surgery in January, began his rehab assignment back on June 30. The 37-year-old hasn’t been able to shake the rust at the plate quite yet, as he’s just 2-for-15 (.133) with zero extra-base hits, one RBI and three strikeouts in seven games between Class A Charleston and High-A Tampa. His game tonight was rained out.

While the timeline for his return is looking cloudy at the moment, Rodriguez will reportedly meet with MLB investigators tomorrow about his alleged connections to Biogenesis. It’s unlikely that much will come out of it, as he’s expected to use his “Jenkins” rights and essentially plead the fifth.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.