Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’
It’s almost game time here at Yankee Stadium and we will soon know how Yankees fans receive Alex Rodriguez when he takes the field in pinstripes for the first time in 2013.
Rodriguez is playing in his fourth big league game, and the first at home, since returning from the disabled list. I don’t need to recap all of the details here in this blog post, as you’re probably well aware of the cloud Rodriguez is under, currently waiting on the appeal of a 211-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball earlier this week.
A-Rod didn’t have a word to offer to reporters today, strolling through the clubhouse with his eyes fixed upon the ceiling after a brief appearance at his locker. He signed some autographs during batting practice behind home plate, then abruptly jogged away into the first-base dugout and back to the clubhouse without saying anything.
Rodriguez said in Chicago that he had not given much thought to how Yankees fans would welcome him back, and Girardi said today that he would not offer a recommendation to the fan base.
“I don’t really have a way they should receive him. That’s not my job,” Girardi said. “My job is these guys in that room, so I’m not so sure how it’s going to go out there.
“The only thing that you hope is that, whether it’s a home or visiting ballpark, that it’s not personal. That’s the only thing that you hope. But the fans are going to react the way they’re going to react. They buy the tickets, and that’s part of it.”
Girardi also said that he spoke with his son, Dante, in loose terms about Rodriguez’s situation. Girardi has often been seen pitching to his son on the field after Yankees home games, and Dante’s swing and on-field mannerisms appear to be closely modeled upon Rodriguez’s.
“I talked about this with my son, how things have went in baseball and some of the things,” Girardi said. “And how in this day and age, with camera phones and everything that goes on, the chances of you ever getting away with anything aren’t very good.
”There are consequences for your actions, and you’re usually going to have to pay for them. I’ve talked to my son about the value of hard work and doing things the right way. As far as my son as a fan, I would tell him not to get wrapped up in what goes on in the stands. Be respectful and go from there.”
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera spoke rather candidly this afternoon about Major League Baseball’s suspension of the Brewers’ Ryan Braun and the potential implications it may have for Alex Rodriguez.
Here is a quick transcript of Rivera’s thoughts:
On the Braun suspension: “If he has admitted that he did something wrong, he knows what the league is going to do. It’s not rocket science here. Hey, if you did something and you admitted it, who am I to say something different, you know what I mean? I just want to make sure that the game is played clean and should be the way it is.”
On if he is worried about A-Rod: “In a sense, I can’t say anything because I don’t know. I don’t know what happened with Alex. He’s my teammate and I have to support him 100 percent. I really don’t know until something different happens. We need to see where this goes. The good thing about this is we’re cleaning the game. That’s the way it should be. I think this is a message for whoever tries to do this again, that it’s going to be caught. It’s going to be caught.”
On if he would feel differently if a teammate admitted using, as Braun did: “I wouldn’t. Everybody does their stuff. I don’t know what the reason [is]. I’m sure they have reasons. You know if you do something like that, you know you’re going to get caught and you’re going to pay the consequences. Simple as that. If you did it and you don’t get caught, well, good luck. But if you get caught, and 99.9 percent of the time you’re going to get caught, you know that you’re going to pay the consequences.”
On if he would stand behind A-Rod if suspended: “Yeah, I mean, I have to support him. He’s my teammate. He’s my brother. Definitely, I don’t say if he did or didn’t do it. If it happens, I can’t throw him in the street, you know? He’s still my brother.”
Alex Rodriguez called Brian Cashman this evening at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET, according to Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo. Cashman had Yankees team president Randy Levine patched onto the call, which lasted close to 30 minutes.
“It was constructive, healthy conversation,” Zillo said in a statement. “Everybody is on the same page. We’re all going to communicate and work together to get Alex back as quickly as possible. Everyone fully understands the protocols and processes in place. We are all back on track.”
Yankees president Randy Levine said on Tuesday that, even with some key names on the comeback trail, he does expect general manager Brian Cashman to be actively seeking upgrades as the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches.
“We’re the Yankees. We’re always active,” Levine said at a Yankee Stadium press conference to announce a Pinstripe Bowl partnership with the ACC. “We’re always trying to get better. We’ll leave that to Cash to see where the team is, what’s the best move, what do we really need, which players are coming back, when are they coming back. Cash, after talking to Joe [Girardi], will make that decision.”
“I think Hal [Steinbrenner] has said it over and over again, he’s committed to bringing a championship team to the Yankees, to the fans of New York. We’ve been acting the same way for decades. We’ve been banged up, we’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of tough breaks. The guys out there are fighting, scratching. It’s quite amazing to me that we’re one game behind in the loss column, overcoming all of this. We’re going to do everything we can to try and win.”
Levine also touched on several other topics during a brief exchange with several reporters:
On Alex Rodriguez’s upcoming return:
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Cash today or the trainers. All I know is what Cash told me, and I think he told you guys yesterday, that as of last night there was no date for him to begin a rehab assignment. Obviously if he’s getting better and he’s ready to go, the sooner the better, good. But I haven’t heard anything that the clock started or he’s ready to go.”
On the Yankees’ willingness to add payroll for 2014:
“I think Hal has been incredibly clear that $189 [million] is a goal. It’s something that we’re going to look to see if we’re going to accomplish, but the overriding goal is to constantly provide Yankees fans a championship team. I think he said it as well as could be said, and I’m going to repeat what he said, because I think that says it all. That’s a great goal. We don’t know who’s going to be here and not going to be here next year. We’ve got a lot of free agents on this team. There are other events that are going on. We’ll see what happens and hopefully we can accomplish both at the same time, but the overriding goal is – as Hal has said – is to maintain the Yankees’ desire to provide a championship team for Yankee fans all over.”
On Major League Baseball’s investigation into A-Rod and others:
“It doesn’t weigh on our mind. That’s something that’s in the hands of the Commissioner’s Office. They’re investigating it. I’m sure they’ll do a very thorough job. The Players Association is involved in it and it’s out of our control. Something is going to happen or not happen based on the evidence and based on that procedure. We have full confidence in the Commissioner’s Office and Rob Manfred and his team to get to the bottom of this. It’s a factor and it may have an effect on certain players or certain things. It may not. It’s just something that’s a factor that we try to take a look at every factor. Nobody is assuming that anybody is getting suspended. Nobody is assuming that there are any findings. We’re in America and the last I looked, everyone is innocent until evidence is presented against them.”
On if Mark Teixeira’s salary will still be covered by the World Baseball Classic:
“No, the salary reverts to us at the time that he came back. And obviously we have our own insurance on Tex.”
On what would happen if Teixeira needs season-ending surgery:
“Why would I answer that question now? Unless something happened today, we don’t have an answer. We’ll deal with that if and when it happens. But we have pretty good coverage on him, as with a lot of our players.”
It’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.
The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.
This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”
Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.
“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window — it’s not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”
That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.
Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…
“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”
Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:
- Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
- Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
- As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
- Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
- Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
- Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”