Outfielder Yusniel Diaz, the prospect who headlined last month’s Manny Machado trade, has struggled since being dealt to the Orioles but is beginning to show signs of life in Double-A, writes Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles have made some alterations to Diaz’s stance at the plate that they feel will be beneficial in the long run, even if the early returns have been lackluster. Manager Gary Kendall spoke to Meoli about Diaz’s impressive tools even as he fights through a slump (perhaps partially due to a paltry .234 BABIP, Meoli notes), and the column is filled with quotes from Kendall on his overall impressions of the 21-year-old Diaz. Meoli also checks in on the progress of all four other players involved in the Machado trade.
A few more notes from the division…
- Didi Gregorius swung a bat Sunday for the first time since hitting the DL, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. The Yankees are optimistic about the outlook for both Gregorius and catcher Gary Sanchez, King writes, adding that Sanchez will head out on a Triple-A rehab assignment today. Sanchez will step right back into the lineup for regular work once healthy, manager Aaron Boone tells King. Boone wouldn’t commit to Gregorius being ready for activation when eligible but said he’s “optimistic.” Meanwhile, King notes that there’s still no meaningful update on Aaron Judge, who has yet to resume swinging as he waits for a chip fracture in his wrist to mend.
- Trade candidate Marco Estrada didn’t do much to impress other clubs with a short start this weekend, writes Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. After Estrada failed to complete three innings against the Phillies, the Blue Jays righty acknowledged to Nicholson-Smith and others that he’s been pitching through ongoing back discomfort over the past couple of weeks. That’s hardly a new issue for Estrada, who has struggled with a herniated disk in his back in the past and spent time on the DL due to back issues. He’s allowed at least three runs in five of his past six starts, including four starts with either four or five runs allowed in that time.