The Yankees had scout Brandon Duckworth in attendance to watch Texas’ game in Tampa Bay on Friday, leading to speculation that the Bombers are interested in Rangers ace Yu Darvish, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. New York is one of many potential suitors for Darvish, who struck out 12 Rays in eight innings Friday. For the Yankees, Darvish would more than make up for the loss of Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery and give the playoff hopefuls another front-line starter to join Luis Severino. However, it’s unclear whether they’d be willing to pay what figures to be a heavy price for a rental.
More on New York and a couple of its AL East rivals:
- In unfortunate news for the Yankees, second baseman Starlin Castro is headed back to the disabled list with hamstring issues, tweets King. The Yankees will recall rookie Tyler Wade to take over for Castro, who first hit the DL in late June because of a Grade 1 hamstring strain. Castro came back July 15 and appeared in six of eight games before his latest DL placement. Injuries notwithstanding, the 27-year-old is in the midst of a fine season, having hit .307/.344/.472 with 12 home runs in 337 plate appearances.
- The Rays are interested in acquiring reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies, so Philadelphia is heavily scouting Tampa Bay’s farm system, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link). Neshek is among a host of relievers the bullpen-needy Rays have been eyeing with the deadline approaching.
- While the Rays are currently looking for outside help, they have an in-house reinforcement on the way in center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who suffered a hip fracture June 8. Kiermaier is eligible to return from the DL on Aug. 9, and he expects to do just that if all goes well on a rehab assignment, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Even though Kiermaier is one of the Rays’ cornerstones, their outfield has fared nicely in his absence, with Mallex Smith and Peter Bourjos filling in well in center.
- The Red Sox aren’t cutting ties with struggling righty Doug Fister, but they have demoted him from the rotation to the bullpen, per Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com. The 33-year-old Fister became the odd man out after the return of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was on the shelf with a knee injury from the beginning of June until earlier this week. Fister, whom Boston claimed off waivers from the Angels in late June, has recorded a 7.89 ERA, 7.48 K/9, 6.23 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate over 21 2/3 innings and five appearances (four starts) with the Red Sox. His walk rate is significantly higher than his career mark (2.03 per nine), but the Red Sox expect positive regression in that department. “We had a chance to sit and talk a little bit earlier today and you look at the start he made in Texas where a lot of his misses were up above the strike zone,” said manager John Farrell. “He made a tangible adjustment where (Thursday), granted there were misses, but they’re below the strike zone where he has got to miss. That’s where he needs to live.”