Here’s the latest from the American League:
- Red Sox outfielder Hanley Ramirez expressed little inclination to return to the infield, as WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports. He emphasized that he believes on the grass limits the wear and tear on his body, saying “I consider myself an outfielder.” Some have suggested that Ramirez could spend time at first, now or in the future, as the team looks to spark a lagging offense and find time for a large group of outfielders. But it sounds as if that is rather unlikely at this stage.
- Though he’s back from knee surgery, Athletics utilityman Ben Zobrist has yet to look himself, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The 34-year-old still appears to be a step slow, per Slusser, and has not yet turned things around at the plate. Oakland is well back in the standings and could conceivably move quickly if it sees a sterling opportunity to sell — as ESPN.com’s Buster Olney discussed today in an Insider piece — but one wonders whether that strategy would work for Zobrist, who may need to show more to maximize his value.
- The Yankees’ risky call to keep Masahiro Tanaka away from the surgeon’s knife has paid dividends so far, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. Tanaka has been outstanding since returning from the DL, and is running out a mid-90s heater after exhibiting a velocity dip earlier in the season. It remains to be seen whether he can stave off Tommy John surgery permanently, but it’s hard to argue with the decision to wait when he owns a 2.48 ERA with 9.7 K/9 against just 1.7 BB/9 over his first six starts of the year.