Yankees closer Mariano Rivera
earned his 30th save of the year Thursday in a 6-5 defeat of the Angels. He now has nine straight 30-save seasons, the most in major league history.
But the news isn't all positive.
Rivera allowed a home run to the Angels' Bobby Abreu
on Tuesday night and a homer to Russell Branyan
on Thursday, marking the first time in Mo's career that he's been taken deep in consecutive relief appearances.
Everyone has their opinion as to why he's struggling. Maybe old age is finally catching up to him. Or maybe, as ESPN's Mark Simon suggests
, he's simply finding the middle of the plate too often with his cutter. Either way, Rivera remains a top fantasy closer with the skill and talent to return to dominance down the stretch. Owners have no choice but to weather the minor storm.
This is Friday's edition of the MLB Daily Dose...
* Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez
has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with Single-A Tampa. He'll serve as the designated hitter in his debut, but should play several innings at the hot corner on Saturday before starting a whole game at third on Sunday. The 36-year-old has been on the disabled list since undergoing surgery on his right knee in early July. He'll return by the end of next week to a .295/.366/.485 major league batting line, 13 home runs and 52 RBI. A-Rod is an obvious must-start down the stretch.
* The Giants knew what they were getting themselves into when they acquired outfielder Carlos Beltran
from the Mets back in late July. He's a highly productive player and capable of providing a jolt to San Francisco's weak-hitting offense. But the 34-year-old is also susceptible to injuries, both of the minor and major variety. It should come as no surprise, then, that he's been sidelined since Sunday with a strained right wrist and could be headed to the 15-day disabled list.
Beltran was given a cortisone shot Thursday to help ease the pain in his wrist. He's already been ruled out for Friday's series opener against the Marlins and probably won't play Saturday either. If the injury lingers into Sunday, the Giants could easily grow impatient with the lack of progress.
Beltran is 11-for-45 with two triples, a double and two RBI since joining up with San Fran.National League Quick Hits:
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun
was given a day of rest Thursday due to lingering soreness in his left hamstring and calf … Matt Holliday
remains sidelined with a tweaked back muscle … Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin
homered and stole two bases Thursday against the Mets … Albert Pujols
went 4-for-4 with a solo homer and RBI single Thursday in a defeat of the Brewers … Mike Morse
is considered day-to-day with a left elbow contusion … Cardinals utilityman Nick Punto
(oblique) is aiming to return within the next three weeks … The Dodgers agreed to terms with first-round pick LHP Chris Reed
… Johnny Cueto
blanked the Rockies for seven innings and struck out nine in Thursday's victory… Brandon Phillips
remains day-to-day with a left elbow contusion … The Cardinals signed left-hander Arthur Rhodes
, who was released earlier this week by the Rangers … Ryan Dempster
earned his 10th win of the season Thursday in the Cubs' defeat of the Nationals … Cubs closer Carlos Marmol
is up to 26 saves on the season … Angel Pagan
is day-to-day with back spasms … Reds shortstop Zack Cozart
will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday on his non-throwing elbow … Jhoulys Chacin
struck out nine batters over eight innings Thursday against the Reds … The D'Backs claimed infielder Tommy Manzella
off waivers from the Astros … Orlando Hudson
is day-to-day with a mildly strained right groin.American League Quick Hits:
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano
hit a grand slam Thursday in a 6-5 win over the Angels … Justin Verlander
struck out 10 batters over seven innings Thursday in a defeat of the Indians … The Blue Jays are not expected to find a common ground with first-round pick Tyler Beede
before the August 15 deadline … Carlos Santana
slugged his 18th home run of the year Thursday … A's DH Hideki Matsui
is batting .432 with five home runs and 24 RBI in 24 games since the All-Star break … Brennan Boesch
is day-to-day with a second degree sprain of his right thumb … Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz
hurled a shutout Thursday at Triple-A Norfolk … Ben Zobrist
tripled, doubled and drove in two runs Thursday versus the Royals … The Rangers activated outfielder Craig Gentry
(concussion) from the disabled list … A's outfielder Coco Crisp
has missed four straight games with lingering discomfort in his right calf … Tigers closer Jose Valverde
is now 33-for-33 in save opportunities this season … The Orioles optioned struggling right-hander Chris Tillman
back to Triple-A Norfolk.