A strained hamstring will send Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez to the 15-day disabled list, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Rodriguez, who had previously been slowed by an oblique injury, expressed frustration at the timing of the injury, as he’d begun to emerge from an early slump. Over the past 12 games, the 40-year-old Rodriguez is hitting .262/.311/.619, and he’d homered in three of his five games as well. Hoch notes that the brief hiatus could give the Yankees the opportunity to play Carlos Beltran at DH and get offseason acquisition Aaron Hicks some extra time in the outfield, which would be a defensive upgrade. Left-handed reliever James Pazos was recalled from Triple-A to fill Rodriguez’s spot on the roster for the time being.
Checking in elsewhere in the division…
- The trade that sent Martin Prado and David Phelps from the Yankees to the Marlins looked to be a win for New York as recently as last August, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but early 2016 results for those involved serve as a reminder that judging the “winner” of a trade is a long-term (and imperfect) process. Last year, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi had taken some steps forward, while the main components sent to Miami had delivered solid but inferior returns. However, Eovaldi has struggled this season, while Prado is leading the NL in hitting and Phelps has blossomed under the tutelage of pitching guru Jim Benedict (hired by the Marlins from the Pirates this winter). Sherman writes that the Yankees would probably do the trade again even today, as they still believe in Eovaldi’s upside, but Phelps’ emergence and remaining club control (through the 2018 season) bode quite well for the Fish. Phelps has allowed just two runs through 16 innings with a 19-to-7 K/BB ratio and a fastball that is 2.5 miles per hour faster than it was in his New York days. Marlins assistant GM Mike Berger spoke to Sherman about Phelps’ breakout, favorably drawing some parallels with another former Yankee farmhand: Mark Melancon.
- Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez nearly had shoulder surgery late last year, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. He ended up taking a rehab approach, which seems to have worked out, but did undergo a similar procedure to teammate Pablo Sandoval back in 2011. “The hardest thing is not the surgery. The hardest thing is the rehab,” Ramirez explained. “My advice to Pablo is that it’s going to take a lot of work. A lot of work, a lot of education and a lot of discipline because you use your shoulder for everything. I know that he can do it.”
- Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has pitched so well in relief that the Rays may not move him back to the rotation, even though that was the initial plan, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “Once we were going to go to a four-man rotation, we knew that we were going to use Erasmo in some pretty high-leverage situations,” manager Kevin Cash tells Topkin. “I don’t think any of us could have said he was going to be pitching this good at this point. Not discounting him at all, he’s just been unbelievable.” Ramirez has fired 10 1/3 innings of one-run ball since April 19, striking out seven hitters against just one walk with a 60.7 percent ground-ball ratio. His overall relief numbers are even more impressive, as Ramirez has tossed 16 1/3 innings out of the bullpen this year and yielded just three runs on 11 hits and a walk with 13 strikeouts. The Rays have Alex Cobb on the mend and could could turn to Blake Snell or Matt Andriese as rotation options in the interim. If Ramirez can sustain his success, it’ll only be a boon for a Tampa Bay ’pen that is also on the verge of getting closer Brad Boxberger back as well. Boxberger is nearing a return from offseason hernia surgery.