LEADING OFF: Bosox-Yanks open 2nd half; trade deadline looms

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Luke Voit, Xander Bogaerts

New York Yankees’ Luke Voit (59) slides out at second base as Boston Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts follows through on a throw to first to complete a double play in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 27, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

A look at what’s happening around the majors on Thursday:

START IT UP

The second half begins with one game when Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and the AL East-leading Red Sox visit Yankee Stadium.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez (6-5, 5.52 ERA) starts for Boston, which holds a 1 1/2-game edge over Tampa Bay. New York and Toronto are eight games behind the Red Sox.

J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox have wrecked the Yankees lately, going 6-0 against their longtime rivals this season and outscoring them 36-17 in those matchups.

The Yankees, who haven’t announced their rotation for this three-game series, face Boston eight times in their first 10 games coming out of the All-Star break. The stretch could decide whether New York is a buyer or seller heading into the July 30 trade deadline.

TRADE WINDS

The clock is ticking — two weeks for contenders to make deals before the deadline.

Need some home runs? Nelson Cruz keeps connecting at age 41, hitting 18 this year while batting .304 for Minnesota. The Target Field slugger will surely be a trade target.

Colorado and Texas could be willing to deal veteran pros for prospects. Rockies star shortstop Trevor Story and productive first baseman C.J. Cron might be available at the right price, while the Rangers are likely to get offers for slugger Joey Gallo and All-Star starter Kyle Gibson.

Arizona infielder Eduardo Escobar and Miami outfielder Starling Marte could be on the move, too.

OH DOCTOR!

Mike Trout, Chris Sale, Corey Seager and some of baseball’s biggest names are teammates right now. On the injured list, that is.

But that could change soon as players start getting healthy, maybe just in time to boost their clubs during the stretch.

Trout strained his right calf May 17 and was expected to be sidelined 6 to 8 weeks. The three-time AL is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list Saturday, when the Angels host Seattle in their second game after the break.

The Giants, the surprise leaders in the NL West, are waiting while catcher Buster Posey, first baseman Brandon Belt, third baseman Evan Longoria and infielder Tommy La Stella are rehabbing. They’re all expected to return this month.

Others currently sidelined who could have a big impact in the final 2 1/2 months: Slugger Eloy Jiménez and outfielder Luis Robert with the AL Central-leading White Sox, Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco, and pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Chris Archer of the Rays and Shane Bieber of the Indians.

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