The Yankees held a sort of impromptu turn-back-the-clock showcase on Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.
Derek Jeter returned from a strained quadriceps and made his first start of the season at shortstop, homering on the first pitch of his first at-bat and finishing 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored as the Yankees topped the red-hot Rays 6-5 in dramatic fashion. Alfonso Soriano did Jeter one better, going 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and driving in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning with an up-the-middle RBI single. He’s now 4-for-13 (.308) since agreeing to leave the Cubs last week for the team he debuted with.
Jeter is 39 years old and borderline fragile at this point and Soriano is 37 years old with steadily diminishing athleticism, but they’re both suddenly building momentum in standard fantasy formats. Jeter hit .316/.362/.429 with 15 homers, 58 RBI and 99 runs scored in 159 games last season at age 38 and is easily a Top 10 fantasy shortstop when healthy. Soriano still has a good amount of pop and has moved into a division packed with power-friendly ballparks. He is as fantasy-relevant as he’s been in the past five years.
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Put A Fork In Pujols
The Angels are 13 games back in the American League West standings and were dealt a truly-crushing blow on Sunday when Albert Pujols was diagnosed with a tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. Pujols is expected to avoid surgery, but the tear won’t heal quickly and he seems doubtful to return before the end of the season, especially if Anaheim can’t get back into contention.
Less than two years into his 10-year, $250 million free agent agreement with the Halos, the 33-year-old Pujols is a designated hitter with a .330 on-base percentage and a major foot injury. And the Angels are poised the miss the playoffs yet again. That’s not what club owner Arte Moreno probably had in mind.
Pujols has played through a range of injuries throughout his career and should come back strong in 2014 after the first extended period of rest that he’s had since breaking into the major leagues with the Cardinals in 2001, but he’ll be 34 years old on Opening Day next year with $222 million still owed to him. It's not a good situation.
Trade Deadline Countdown: 2 Days
It has been a fairly quiet trading season with so many teams in the hunt, but things should pick up this week ahead of Wednesday’s July 31 trade deadline. White Sox starter Jake Peavy is almost certain to be moved and there could be closer turnover on a few different teams. Keep it locked on our constantly-updated player news page for all the latest rumors and transactions. Check out Matthew Pouliot's loaded Trade Deadline Preview.
National League Quick Hits: Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig launched a walkoff home run in the 11th inning Sunday to beat the Reds … Chase Headley has reached base in 22 straight games and is batting .293/.398/.476 so far in July … Marlins rookie ace Jose Fernandez struck out a career-high 13 batters on Sunday against a good Pirates team … Tony Cingrani allowed just one hit over seven scoreless frames and struck out 11 in the Reds’ extra-inning loss to the Dodgers on Sunday … Cubs starter Travis Wood surrendered just one (unearned) run in Sunday’s defeat of the defending World Series-champion Giants … Michael Cuddyer went 2-for-4 and slugged his 17th home run of the year Sunday in the Rockies’ win over the Brewers … Braves outfielder Reed Johnson left Sunday’s game against the Cardinals after tweaking his Achilles … Denard Span was 4-for-4 with a homer, three RBI and three runs scored Sunday in the Nationals’ win over the Mets … The Phillies have informed teams that veteran infielder Michael Young is available … Craig Kimbrel earned his 31st save of 2013 in the Braves’ win over the Cardinals on Sunday night … Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins indicated Sunday evening that he will not waive his 10-and-5 rights this season to approve a trade … Huston Street tallied his 19th save of the year Sunday as the Padres beat the Diamondbacks … The Pirates promoted shortstop prospect Alen Hanson from High-A Bradenton to Double-A Altoona … Giancarlo Stanton launched his 13th home run of the year Sunday as the Marlins edged the Pirates … Kevin Gregg earned his 22nd save of the season Sunday in the Cubs’ win over the Giants … Diamondbacks youngster Patrick Corbin held the Padres to one run over eight innings on Sunday but took a hard-luck loss … Rex Brothers picked up his seventh save Sunday in the Rockies’ defeat of the Brewers … Jason Kubel is day-to-day with a stiff back.
American League Quick Hits: FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Tigers have discussed a Joe Nathan trade with the Rangers … Alex Rodriguez might be suspended through the 2014 season … Yoenis Cespedes finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI in the A’s defeat of the Angels on Sunday … Matt Harrison (back) is aiming to begin a minor league rehab assignment this Wednesday … The Angels are willing to listen to offers on infielders Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports … Wil Myers homered twice Sunday in the Rays’ loss to the Yankees … Greg Holland tallied his 27th save of the season Sunday as the Royals beat the White Sox … Mariners infielder Nick Franklin went 3-for-4 with two home runs in Seattle’s win over the Twins on Sunday … David Ortiz had four hits, including a two-run homer, in Sunday’s defeat of the Orioles … Brian Dozier is day-to-day with a stiff lower back … Mariners youngster Erasmo Ramirez has a 7.71 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in his first three major league starts this season … Jarrod Dyson finished 2-for-4 with two stolen bases Sunday in the Royals’ defeat of the White Sox … Jon Lester fired seven scoreless innings to lead the Red Sox past the Orioles on Sunday … Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta slugged a grand slam Sunday in the Tigers’ rout of the Phillies … Ubaldo Jimenez threw eight shutout innings Sunday against the Rangers and has allowed more than three runs just once in his last 12 starts … The Twins released veteran right-hander Rich Harden … Curtis Granderson (finger) could be activated from the disabled list this weekend … According to CSNHouston.com, Astros left-hander Erik Bedard is drawing some trade interest … Miguel Cabrera was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Phillies for arguing balls and strikes.