Rumors of Alex Rodriguez's demise have been greatly exaggerated, it turns out. After a week of drama and speculation about his readiness, the much-maligned third baseman has finally been cleared to return to play in baseball games again.
That's right, the Yankees announced Monday that Rodriguez will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Low-A Charleston. It will be his first test in game action since undergoing hip surgery in January. The 37-year-old is slated to play three innings at third base in his first game and will gradually work his way up to nine innings. Position players are permitted to spend 20 days on a rehab assignment and A-Rod may need all of it in order to get his swing back, but he could be activated shortly after the All-Star break if all goes well.
Rodriguez might not be the player he once was, but it won't take much for him to be an upgrade over what the Yankees have received from their third basemen this season. They have an ugly .227/.288/.310 batting line thus far. While the Biogenesis cloud will continue to follow him in the short-term, Rodriguez is worth stashing in all fantasy formats if you have a DL-spot available. He's still available in 81 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is way, way too many, even with the questions about his health, declining production, and the looming threat of a suspension.
Check out Matthew Pouliot's Top 300 list for the month of July here, and make sure to follow @Rotoworld_BB if you are on Twitter.
Dickey Back on Track?
It would be an understatement to say that R.A. Dickey has been a major disappointment for fantasy owners so far this season, but the knuckleballer is finally showing some signs of progress.
After tossing a shutout against the Rays last week, Dickey allowed two runs in seven innings Monday against the Tigers. He scattered six hits while walking just one batter and striking out four. While not nearly as good as last week, it was a pretty impressive performance against a tough offense. The most encouraging part is that he has begun throwing his trademark "fast knuckler" again, which has been absent for most of the season. Per the wonderful Brooks Baseball, Dickey averaged 76.11 mph and topped out at 80 mph on the knuckleball last week against the Rays and averaged 76.95 mph and topped out at 81.77 mph on Monday. That's much closer to where he was during his Cy Young Award campaign with the Mets last year.
Dickey told Eno Sarris of Rotoworld and FanGraphs last month that he has been unable to throw his "fast knuckler" for most of the season due to an upper back issue, but the increased velocity is an indication that he's finally feeling healthy. There might not be much more time to buy low. And hey, if you've been suffering through his frustrating first half, the patience may be paying off.
Eaton on the Mend
It's about time we check in on one of fantasy baseball's most popular sleepers from this spring.
Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Eaton had plenty of momentum in fantasy leagues after his promising minor league career and a brief cup of coffee down the stretch last season, but he hasn't played a game in the majors this year due to a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The 24-year-old was already pulled off a rehab assignment in May due to renewed soreness in the elbow, but he was able to return to game action last week as a DH and should begin playing the outfield again this weekend.
There's obviously no guarantee that Eaton will be able to throw without pain or avoid the worst-case scenario of Tommy John surgery in the long run, but he has the ability to make a big impact for the Diamondbacks during the second half. He was a .347/.449/.496 hitter in the minors and displayed a good approach, speed, and even some pop, so there's a lot to like here in fantasy leagues if he's back to full health. Keep him in mind if you have some roster flexibility and an open DL spot.
National League Quick Hits: Bryce Harper homered Monday in his first at-bat since coming off the disabled list … Jordan Zimmermann allowed four runs in six innings Monday against the Brewers for his NL-leading 12th victory … Paul Goldschmidt launched his 20th home run of the season in an extra-inning loss to the Mets on Monday … Jose Fernandez allowed just three hits over eight scoreless innings Monday in a win over the Padres … Yovani Gallardo was hammered for eight runs in three-plus innings Monday in a loss to the Nationals … Dan Haren (shoulder) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Wednesday … Gerardo Parra left Monday's game against the Mets after he face-planted while attempting to make a diving catch, but he was cleared of a concussion … Trevor Cahill was placed on the disabled list Monday with a right hip contusion while Tyler Skaggs is considered the favorite to replace him in Arizona's starting rotation … Wandy Rodriguez received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left elbow Monday and will be shut down for three weeks … J.J. Putz blew a save Monday in his first save chance since coming off the disabled list … Todd Frazier homered and drove in four runs Monday in a rain-shortened win over the Giants … Jayson Werth drove in five runs Monday for the first time since 2009 … Ross Detwiler (back) remains on track to make his next scheduled start Wednesday against the Brewers … The Dodgers are reportedly close to acquiring reliever Carlos Marmol from the Cubs … Wilson Ramos (hamstring) moved his rehab assignment to High-A Potomac on Monday and could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Thursday … Ryan Vogelsong (hand) played catch Monday and is about a month away from rejoining the Giants' rotation … Josh Satin went 3-for-6 with two doubles and a walk in Monday's win over the Diamondbacks and is hitting .395 with nine walks in 38 at-bats since being recalled from the minors … Henderson Alvarez (shoulder) will be activated from the disabled list Thursday to make his Marlins' debut against the Braves …
American League Quick Hits: Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI, and four runs scored in Monday's win over the Twins … Evan Longoria (foot) missed his third straight game Monday, but expects to avoid the disabled list … Jose Reyes went 3-for-5 with a solo homer Monday against the Tigers … Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from Monday's lineup against the Tigers due to left hamstring soreness … Derek Jeter (ankle) ran the bases Monday for the first time since March … Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) is expected to be OK after he was hit in the left calf by a comebacker during a rehab start Monday with High-A Lakeland … Matt Moore struck out nine and allowed just two hits over seven scoreless frames Monday in a win over the Astros … Josh Willingham was scratched from Monday's lineup due to lingering soreness is his left knee and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday … Adam Lind didn't play Monday after aggravating his back on Sunday, but remains optimistic that he'll avoid a trip to the disabled list … Andy Pettitte passed Whitey Ford for first on the Yankees' all-time strikeout list on Monday … The Tigers activated Alex Avila (forearm) from the 15-day disabled list … Omar Infante went 4-for-4 with a solo home run and an RBI double in Monday's loss to the Blue Jays … Nolan Reimold (hamstring) is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Joakim Soria (elbow) will make his next rehab appearance Wednesday with Double-A Frisco and could be cleared to join the Rangers' bullpen next week … Francisco Cervelli took batting practice Monday for the first time since suffering a fractured hand in May … Zoilo Almonte finished 3-for-5 with two RBI on Monday against the Twins and is hitting .342 since being called up from the minors … Ryan Roberts clubbed a pair of homers and knocked in three runs Monday in a win over the Astros …