A-Rod: $6 million bonus talk is “family business”
Hello from Boston, where the Yankees are trying for their first sweep of a series of three games or more at Fenway Park since August 2006, when the Yankees swept the Sox in five games. The Yankees did sweep the Red Sox in two games in April 2012. First pitch tonight is at 8:05 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Alex Rodriguez sidestepped questions concerning his contract language and the potential $6 million in bonus payments related to his 660th home run this weekend, calling it “family business” that should not be discussed publicly.
“I’m just happy to be playing baseball. [That’s] family business,” Rodriguez said on Sunday. “That’s nowhere near where my energy is these days. My energy is playing the game tonight. Just baseball.”
Rodriguez tied Willie Mays (660) for fourth place on the home run list with his eighth-inning, pinch-hit homer off Junichi Tazawa in Friday’s 3-2 Yankees victory over the Red Sox.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Saturday that the team has “the right, but not the obligation,” to award a bonus to Rodriguez if they determine certain milestones he reaches are “commercially marketable” in the career home runs chase.
Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal signed in 2007 contained a marketing agreement that is separate from his player contract. It stated that the Yankees had the right to designate a “milestone” — valued at $6 million for each occurrence — if Rodriguez tied Mays, Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), plus another if Rodriguez set the home run record.
Cashman and Rodriguez both have said that the team is going about the business of competing on the field, together, and that a process is in place to settle any dispute related to the marketing relationship. Rodriguez said that the bonus does not present a distraction for him.
“Not at all,” he said. “My energy from Spring Training has been all about baseball.”
If Rodriguez disagrees with the decision, he has the right to have the case heard by an arbitrator. The Major League Baseball Players Association has said that they are prepared to step in on Rodriguez’s behalf if the bonus payment is withheld by the Yankees.
“I’ve been in a good place for a while now and it’s just fun to be playing baseball,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve learned my lesson.”
The Yankees will continue without the services of infielder Brendan Ryan, who tweaked a hamstring while running in Florida and will be forced to sit for at least another week.
Ryan was envisioned as the Yankees’ backup shortstop, but sustained a right calf strain during Spring Training and has not played in the Majors this season. He was participating in Extended Spring Training games in Tampa, Fla.
With Ryan sidelined, infielder Gregorio Petit could stick on the big league roster, or the Yankees could summon infielder Jose Pirela from his Minor League rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Petit has six hits in 30 at-bats (.200) for New York, with three doubles and five RBIs. Pirela went 4-for-5 with three doubles, an RBI and three runs scored for the RailRiders on Sunday and is 11-for-19 (.579) with a home run, four doubles and four RBIs during his stint with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“I would say he’s probably ready to go,” manager Joe Girardi said of Pirela. “We wanted to get him a few more at-bats when we had that luxury of calling Petit back, and now we’ve got to make a decision of what we want to do.”
In another rehab update, left-hander Chris Capuano pitched four innings with an unearned run for Class-A Tampa on Saturday, marking his first Minor League rehab start as he returns from a Grade 2 right quadriceps strain. Capuano permitted two hits, striking out four without a walk.
Girardi’s take on sitting the sizzling Chris Young in favor of Carlos Beltran, who comes into the night hitting .181 with no homers and eight RBIs:
“It’s difficult. But we believe Carlos is a big part of our offense. Chris had two hits yesterday again, but Carlos had two hits Friday night, too. I hope they get two hits every other day the rest of the year.”
Beltran has four hits in his last 28 at-bats.
Could the Yankees ask more than three outs from Andrew Miller tonight, after Dellin Betances was used in a save situation during Saturday’s matinee?
“I’ll see. I’ll talk to him,” Girardi said. “It’s not something you want to do a lot, but if I felt the situation called for it, and he felt OK, I might consider it.”
David Carpenter seems to have gotten lost in the bullpen shuffle after entering the season as the likely replacement for Shawn Kelley‘s old role. Here’s how Girardi explained that:
“His time is going to come. We know that. The other guys have pitched so well, we’ve kind of went with it. That can go in phases. His time is going to come.’
The Yankees have won twelve out of their past 15 games since starting the season 3-6. They are looking to win their sixth straight road game for the first time since June of 2012 when they won seven straight on the road.