Anthony Rizzo has been dealing with back problems for much of the season, and the Yankees first baseman received an epidural on Thursday that will sideline him for the next few games. The plan is to have Rizzo in the lineup on Monday when the Yankees open a homestand against the Twins, manager Aaron Boone told reporters (including Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News). “This is something that should give him a lot of relief the rest of the way this season,” Boone said, also noting that Rizzo received a clean MRI on his back earlier in August.
The lingering back problems are a likely cause of Rizzo’s slump in August, as the first baseman has hit only .200/.282/.371 in his last 78 plate appearances. Rizzo still has a healthy 136 wRC+ for the season even despite these recent struggles, but the Yankees surely need him back at full production for both the playoffs and what has become a surprisingly competitive AL East race with the surging Rays.
More from around the American League…
- The Guardians didn’t have interest in Jesus Aguilar before the first baseman signed with the Orioles, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Aguilar spent his first three MLB seasons with Cleveland in 2014-16, playing in only 35 big league games before being claimed by the Brewers in February 2017. While he has enjoyed some success in his career, Aguilar has struggled in 2022, with only a .232/.282/.382 slash line over 463 plate appearances. While the Guards are lacking in offense and Aguilar makes some sense as a first base/DH platoon partner with Josh Naylor, there’s no guarantee that Aguilar would’ve suddenly turned things around in Cleveland.
- Emilio Pagan drew some “mild interest” in trade talks before the deadline, The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman reports. Acquired as part of a notable four-player swap with the Padres before the season, Pagan’s first Twins season has difficult, with the reliever posting a 4.94 ERA over 51 innings. Though Pagan has a very good 29.8% strikeout rate, he has been homer-prone, his 9.3% walk rate is well below average, and opposing batters are making tons of hard contact. Pagan is arbitration-eligible this winter and might be a non-tender candidate, except the Twins feel they might still be able to deal the right-hander rather than let him go for nothing in a non-tender.
- Rangers prospect Sam Huff has yet to receive a true extended look in the majors, with 10 games in 2020 and 30 games this season. While Texas might call Huff up at some point before 2022 is over, the team will continue giving Huff regular work behind the plate at Triple-A while Jonah Heim continues as the regular catcher for the big league team, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. Heim still needs some seasoning in his own right, with interim manager Tony Beasley noting that Heim “needs to feel [an incresed workload] a little bit. That’s part of getting through the season, something that all everyday catchers have to feel.” Heim has enjoyed a quality season on the whole, but his production has dropped off since the All-Star break, quite possibly because of his career-high number of MLB plate appearances and games played.