Top Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada may not quite be ready to follow Andrew Benintendi to the majors, but GM Mike Hazen says he is playing his way into the team’s near-term plans, as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. Moncada’s big numbers at Double-A have prompted a move to third base, where he could play at the big league level in relatively short order. Hazen analogized the situation to that of Mookie Betts, who also shifted off of second base — in his case, to the outfield — because he was ready to play but was blocked by stalwart Dustin Pedroia. As for timing of a big league promotion, Hazen declined to offer an opinion, but did note that Moncada has had a very different path to this point than did Benintendi. Also, as Mastrodonato notes, he needs to polish his hitting approach and refine his mechanics from both sides of the plate.
A bit more from the AL East…
- The Yankees have no plans to release Alex Rodriguez, general manager Brian Cashman said in a recent ESPN Radio appearance (transcript via the Post’s George A. King III). Cashman acknowledged that some of Rodriguez’s at-bats will go to other players, but injuries or matchups could get Rodriguez additional looks down the stretch. The contract of Rodriguez, which calls for him to earn another $27MM through next season, is a factor, Cashman admitted: “First and foremost, you just have to admit it’s not easy to go ahead and eat — meaning release — that kind of money. It’s not something you come to a quick decision on. There are players around the game with big contracts, well-below-average players, for many years, not just a year. Alex hit 33 home runs, I believe, last year. … If we choose to do something, that’s our right at any time, but right now that’s not being done.”
- Cashman appeared on yesterday’s Baseball Tonight podcast with ESPN’s Buster Olney (audio link) and discussed the Yankees’ decision to act as sellers at this year’s deadline as well as the prospects he picked up in trades of Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. Cashman also said he has a list of Pirates prospects at the lower levels of their system from which he’ll select a pair of players to be named later in order to complete the Ivan Nova trade, but they’re still in the process of evaluating their options.
- Rays infielder Brad Miller tells Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times that he was “extremely disappointed” to learn that newly acquired Matt Duffy will supplant him as the everyday shortstop upon his return from an Achilles injury. Miller considers himself a shortstop and sounds frustrated that he’ll be moved off the position for the second time in his young career. “I feel like I’ve done everything I needed to do to keep the job, and they didn’t see it that way,” he explains. “The same thing happened in Seattle.” Rays skipper Kevin Cash, though, stressed that Miller will still be an everyday player due to his bat. He’ll move over to first base until Logan Morrison’s return and then presumably see regular at-bats spread across several positions as a means of keeping his .252/.300/.484 slash line and 18 homers in the lineup.
- Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM within the past hour (audio link) and said definitively that Aaron Sanchez won’t throw 220 innings this season. Shapiro added that GM Ross Atkins is on his way to discuss scenarios with Sanchez, manager John Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker at today. Said Shapiro of the innings limitation on Sanchez: “There’s no safe way to shut him down and ramp him up again. If you take that out, it’s simply do you let him start to a point where he either fatigues and mandates being shut down or he reaches some arbitrary inning amount — 190 or whatever it is — …or do we reallocate this innings in the bullpen and let him continue to contribute to this team in high-leverage situations?”