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Report: Yu Darvish wants to return to the Dodgers

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In a reader mailbag, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times says his understanding is that free agent starter Yu Darvish would like to return to the Dodgers. Darvish hasn’t signed with a team yet because he’s waiting to see if the Dodgers can free up some payroll space to add him while staying below the luxury tax threshold of $197 million.

McCullough notes that the Dodgers have been unable thus far to move “extraneous assets” like catcher Yasmani Grandal ($7.9 million), infielder Logan Forsythe ($9 million), and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7.83 million). The Dodgers currently have $185.4 million in commitments for the 2018 season, according to Cot’s Contracts.

Darvish, 31, pitched well for the Dodgers after being acquired from the Rangers on July 31. In nine starts, he posted a 3.44 ERA with a 61/13 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He faltered in the World Series, surrendering nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts against the Astros. Darvish, apparently, had been tipping his pitches and the Astros caught on. The team that ends up signing Darvish would have to be confident the right-hander fixed his tell.

Yankees set to activate Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday

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Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is set to return from the injured list on Tuesday, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Sunday. The timing coincides well with the addition of Edwin Encarnación, who was acquired from the Mariners on Saturday evening and is expected to be active and available for the Yankees as soon as Monday night.

The Yankees have every reason to hope that Stanton will be able to return to his usual 30+ homer, 4.0+ fWAR self as he works his way back to a full-time role this season. (Fueling some of that hope: Four home runs in 10 PA at High-A Tampa during his latest stretch of rehab games.) Undoubtedly, they’re still prepared to play it safe with the 29-year-old, who has already suffered significant shoulder, biceps, and calf injuries and has not appeared in a major-league game since March 31. Through the Yankees’ first three games of 2019, he went 2-for-15 with a pair of singles, seven walks, and four strikeouts.

With Encarnación slotting into a DH/first base role, Stanton is expected to spend the bulk of his playing time in the left field corner. That may cause a bit of a logjam in the outfield, as Brett Gardner took over that spot in Stanton’s absence and will likely be forced into a backup role once Aaron Judge returns from the IL — but for now, Boone says, he “still expects Gardy to play a lot.”