Tag:Alex Rodriguez
Posted on: February 29, 2012 6:28 pm
 

A-Rod, Jeter take high road against Bobby V.

Alex RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

On Tuesday new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine took two little barbs at the Yankees' Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Wednesday, the two Yankees took the high road when asked about Valentine's comments.

"I'm not going to win many battles here when it comes to words, especially against Bobby," Rodriguez told reporters, including the Associated Press.

Jeter said he was "indifferent" about Valentine's comments about his famous flip in the 2001 ALDS against the A's.

"Why are we talking about this, really?" Jeter told the AP. "He must be bored over there, huh? I don't understand."

He added what was a really good question -- "What do you want me to say? I mean, really. What am I supposed to say?"

Valentine did  back off of his statement that he dind't believe the Yankees practiced that play after talking to Red Sox bullpen coach Gary Tuck, who used to be a Yankees catching instructor.

"He said they do practice it. Total mistake on my part because they do practice it, that's for sure," Valentine told the AP. "It's hard to practice that because why are we going to practice a bad throw? That's not what we're doing here. But I get it. I get it. ... I want it on record that I love Derek Jeter as a player. It was not a slight towards him. I love him as a guy, too."

The Yankees actually practiced the play on Wednesday, which may or may not have been a coincidence.

"Ever since I've been here -- in 1996 -- we've asked our shortstops to kind of float in the infield," New York manager Joe Girardi said to the AP and other reporters. "We worked on it today. It happened to be cuts-and-relays day today."

And then there's Eric Chavez, the current Yankees and former Athletic, who had his own opinion about Jeter's famoous play to get Jeremy Giambi at the plate.

"I thought he was safe anyway," Chavez said, according to the AP.

As for Valentine, Jeter said he was "indifferent" and that he didn't know Valentine well enough to know what he was doing.

It should be noted that since Valentine started talking about the Yankees, he's not had to talk about the chicken and beer collapse of 2011, so maybe that had something to do with it.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 4:36 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 6:18 pm
 

Bobby V. takes swipes at A-Rod, Jeter



Bobby ValentineBy C. Trent Rosecrans


Somewhere in Bobby Valentine's office, there may be a checklist of people he should insult.

Monday, it was his predecessor with the Red Sox and Tuesday it's his rival, the Yankees. First on the list of Yankees to tweak? Alex Rodriguez, second was Derek Jeter.

When discussing retiring Boston catcher Jason Varitek, Valentine took a swipe at A-Rod. In a list of positives about Varitek, Bobby V. noted "he beat up Alex," referring to the 2004 dustup between the two.

Then, while discussing his team's work on relays and cutoffs, he dared blast Jeter's famous flip in Game 2 of the 2001 American League Division Series against the A's.

"We'll never practice that," Valentine told reporters (via the Boston Herald). "I think [Jeter] was out of position. I think the ball gets [Jeremy Giambi] out if [Jeter] doesn't touch it, personally. That was amazing that he was there. I bet it's more amazing that he said he practiced it. I don't believe it."

Would the ball have gotten there in time without Jeter's help? Looking back on it, it may have been closer than I'd remembered. I'm still not sure it had enough juice to get there on its own.

I'm surprised while he's at it, he doesn't bring up that in the same game where Jeter made his famous diving catch in the stands in 2004, Pokey Reese made a similar, but superior, play earlier int he game. (If you don't remember, Reese's catch was similar, but he went further and made the catch closer to the wall -- he just lacked Jeter's theatrics and his team didn't win that game).

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 9:11 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:43 am
 

Spring primer: New York Yankees



By C. Trent Rosecrans

After a one-year stint as an underdog, the Yankees are back to being the clear favorite in the American League East. New York fortified its rotation with Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, upgrading what appeared to be its one weak link.

Yankees spring training
Major additions: RHP Michael Pineda, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, DH Raul Ibanez
Major departures: RHP A.J. Burnett, DH Jesus Montero, RHP Bartolo Colon, DH Jorge Posada

Probable lineup:
1. Derek Jeter SS
2. Curtis Granderson CF
3. Robinson Cano 2B
4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
5. Mark Teixeira 1B
6. Nick Swisher RF
7. Russell Martin C
8. Raul Ibanez DH
9. Brett Gardner LF

Probable rotation:
1. CC Sabathia
2. Hiroki Kuroda
3. Michael Pineda
4. Ivan Nova
5. Phil Hughes

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Set-up: RHP David Robertson, RHP Rafael Soriano

Important bench players
C Francisco Cervelli, IF Eduardo Nunez, OF Andruw Jones, IF Eric Chavez

Prospect to watch: With the additions of Kuroda and Pineda, there's not quite the pressure on left-hander Manny Banuelos that there was last spring. Banuelos doesn't turn 21 until March 13, so he can develop without the pressure of being the savior of the Yankees. His results last season at Double-A and Triple-A didn't live up to the hype, but he's still a quality young pitcher than can contribute to the rotation in the future.

Fantasy breakout: Michael Pineda

"With a year of experience, he'll be better equipped to handle a full workload, which could lead to 15-plus victories with the Yankees' stellar lineup backing him. And most likely, any rise in ERA will be in relation to the early 2.58 mark, not the final 3.74 mark." - Scott White

Fantasy sleeper: Phil Hughes

"With an improved workout program this offseason, he should be able to pick up where he left off late last year, when he was throwing in the low-to-mid 90s. True, Hughes wasn't exactly an ace then, but just by holding a regular rotation spot for the high-scoring Yankees, he's a sleeper in Fantasy. And if he can recapture the form he showed in the first half of 2010, when he was an All-Star, he's a late-round steal." - Scott White

Optimistic outlook: Pineda lives up to expectations, Kuroda is solid, Nova takes a step forward, Hughes makes 30 starts and Sabathia wins the Cy Young. That pitching, with a healthy A-Rod, Granderson repeating his 2011 output and Teixeira lives up to his contract and the Yankees win the AL East easily and go on to win the World Series.

Pessimistic outlook: Anything less than a World Series title is the end of the world in New York, so it doesn't have to be too bad for Yankees fans to overreact. But the worst-case scenario is the team's older stars continue to age, with injuries taking away A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira and Martin for long periods of times. Pineda struggles in New York and his lack of a third pitch comes back to bite him, Kuroda is mediocre and Nova takes a step back. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays take a step forward and New York finishes behind Tampa Bay, Boston and Toronto.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:27 pm
 

Yankees agree to deal with Eric Chavez

Eric ChavezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

In a move that's far from a surprise, the Yankees have signed Eric Chavez to a one-year, $900,000 major-league deal plus incentives, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

Chavez, 34, hit .263/.320/.356 with two homers in 58 games and 175 plate appearances for the Yankees last season, serving mostly as a fill-in for Alex Rodriguez. He also played first base and DH.

On Tuesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he expected Chavez back with the team.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 2:51 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:01 pm
 

A-Rod brown bags his lunch, people snicker

Alex RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

So, in today's story that wouldn't be a big deal if it were anyone but the most hated player in baseball, the New York Post reports Alex Rodriguez had a special diet this offseason and was dedicated to keeping it.

If it were any other player, it'd be an anecdote in a "best shape of their life" story. Instead, the Post ran it on its infamous Page Six. Rodriguez's crime? Bringing his own food to restaurants.

According to one of the Post's sources, he's on a special high-protein diet and takes his own cooler full of food to restaurants when he goes out with his girlfriend, Torrie Wilson. He did apparently ask a waitress to heat it up in the kitchen -- I'm not going to pass judgement on that without knowledge of the size of the tip he left.

Yeah, I see where if you automatically dislike the guy, there's a point-and-snicker kind of aspect to this story, but otherwise, is it really a big deal? It's a lot like last offseason's laugh-at-A-Rod story of his then-girlfriend, movie star Cameron Diaz, feeding him popcorn at the Super Bowl -- how many people would dream of being fed popcorn by Diaz at the Super Bowl? Yet, many of those people were the ones laughing.

There's plenty of reasons to dislike Rodriguez as a player, but I'm not sure this is one of them.

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Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:00 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 12:45 pm
 

Yankees add Raul Ibanez

Raul IbanezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

As expected, the Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $1.1 million deal with veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman confirms. The deal is pending a physical.

Heyman wrote last week that the Yankees will likely add infielder Eric Chavez soon, as well. Chavez, 34, played well last season for the Yankees as a backup to Alex Rodriguez at third base. Monday, Heyman reported the Yankees are still talking to Chavez, who would get a big-league deal if he joined the Yankees.

Ibanez, 39, will likely serve as a designated hitter for the Yankees, but can still play left field when needed. Last season was Ibanez's worst since establishing himself as an everyday player in 2001. He hit .245/.289/.419 with 20 home runs for the Phillies in 2011. He was significantly better against right-handers last season, hitting 16 of his 20 homers against righties and putting up a .747 OPS against right-handers versus a .585 OPS against left-handers.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:59 am
 

Spring position battles: American League East



By Matt Snyder


Here we are for the fifth of six installments of spring positional battles. This one is the mighty AL East, the most polarizing and probably best division in the majors.

Previous spring position battles: AL West | NL West | AL Central | NL Central

New York Yankees
Designated Hitter: Andruw Jones vs. Russell Branyan vs. Free Agent vs. Revolving Door

I still feel like the Yankees will sign either Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez or Hideki Matsui -- any of whom likely nails down this job full-time. But it's undecided as of right now, and wide open. Will Andruw Jones or Russell Branyan hit well enough to justify being the full-time DH? Maybe, or maybe they platoon -- as Jones hits from the right side while Branyan is a lefty. Or maybe the Yankees use bench players like Eduardo Nunez, Bill Hall and Chris Dickerson in the field while using starters like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher at DH a few times a week in order to keep guys healthy and in tip-top shape.

Tampa Bay Rays
No. 4-5 starters: Jeff Niemann vs. Wade Davis vs. Matt Moore vs. Six-man rotation

Talk about a nice "problem" to have. The Rays obviously have David Price, James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson as the top three in the rotation. While there isn't a big problem with either Niemann or Davis, it's time to find a place in the rotation for Moore and I'm certain they will. The 22-year-old left-hander was awesome in his limited time in the majors last year, including a stellar outing against the Rangers in Texas for Game 1 of the ALDS. Moore's already received the type of team-friendly contract Evan Longoria got when he was a rookie -- as Moore is signed through 2016 with club options running all the way through 2019. So the question is, do the Rays demote either Niemann or Davis to the bullpen or trade one of them? Niemann would be the trade candidate, as Davis also has a team-friendly contract with club options that take him through 2017. And I doubt this happens, but the Rays could always go with a six-man rotation. Seeing how this plays out will a big spring storyline.

Boston Red Sox
Shortstop: Nick Punto vs. Mike Aviles vs. Jose Iglesias

After trading both Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie this offseason, the Red Sox are left with what appears to be Mike Aviles against Nick Punto at short. Punto had a good offensive campaign by his standards last season, when he hit .278 with a .388 on-base percentage. He only had six starts at shortstop, though, and his career numbers don't indicate he's worthy of an everyday gig at shortstop. Aviles also only started six games at short last season, and he only hit .255/.289/.409. He did hit well for the Red Sox, but it was a small 107 plate appearance sample. So the choice between Punto and Aviles is dubious defensively and neither is a good offensive option. Enter Iglesias, the dazzling defensive prospect. He's a dreadful hitter -- his line in Triple-A was .235/.285/.269 last season -- but it's not like Aviles or Punto are going to be confused with Troy Tulowitzki or anything. Maybe the Red Sox just plant Iglesias in the nine-hole and enjoy the exceptional defense?

Corner Outfield spots: Cody Ross vs. Ryan Sweeney vs. Carl Crawford and his health

Crawford is said to be questionable for the start of the season after undergoing minor wrist surgery a few weeks ago. If he's healthy, he starts in left easily while Sweeney and Ross battle it out for the right field job. If Crawford can't start the season, Ross and Sweeney are the corner outfielders, yet still fighting for the right field job for when Crawford returns. At some point, Ryan Kalish will return from offseason shoulder surgery and could eventually fight for playing time in right field as well.

Toronto Blue Jays
Outfield logjam: Colby Rasmus vs. Eric Thames vs. Rajai Davis vs. Travis Snider

We know who mans right field, but these four guys are competing for the other two spots. Thames in left field and Rasmus in center seem the most likely, but Davis will get a shot at either spot and Snider is in the mix for left.

No. 5 starter: Dustin McGowan vs. Kyle Drabek

This may bleed up into the No. 4 starter as well, but I'll give Brett Cecil the nod for now, since he is left-handed. The top three are Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Henderson Alvarez. So, for now, I'll guess the last spot comes down to McGowan and Drabek. McGowan was once a very promising young arm. He went 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in 169 2/3 innings back in 2007, when he was 25. He then made 19 starts before falling injured in 2008 and finally just resurfaced late last season -- two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery later. Does he have anything left? He was good in 12 minor-league starts in 2011, but had a 6.43 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in the small sample of 21 innings pitched for the Blue Jays. Drabek was a top 30 prospect each of the past two years, according to Baseball America, but he fell flat last season for the Jays. He had a 6.06 ERA, 1.81 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts for the big-league club. Even worse, he was knocked around for Triple-A Las Vegas, to the tune of a 7.44 ERA and 2.03 WHIP in 75 innings. Walks, again, were an issue with Drabek issuing 41 compared to 45 strikeouts. Prospects Deck McGuire and Drew Hutchison could also figure in the mix eventually, but this feels like Drabek vs. McGowan heading into March.

Baltimore Orioles
The entire pitching staff: Johnny Wholestaff vs. Joe Allstaff

So let's see ... the following pitchers might have a chance at the starting rotation: Zach Britton (very safe bet), Jason Hammel (safe bet), Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter. That's quite a mix of pitchers to sift through, but the job isn't overwith yet, because we have to look at the bullpen.

Three pitchers -- Jim Johnson, Matt Lindstrom and Kevin Gregg -- will compete for the closer job, with Troy Patton, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day also being part of the bullpen mix. Of course, guys like Simon, Hunter and Bergesen will get a shot in the bullpen if they miss out on the rotation, too. There are more (Willie Eyre, Armando Galarraga, etc.), but I already named 17 pitchers vying for 12 spots.

We could probably move Simon and Hunter to the bullpen while eliminating Eveland from the starting mix, but that still leaves eight guys in competition. In the bullpen, Johnson seems the best bet to win the closer gig, with Lindstrom and Gregg setting up. Add Strop, Patton, Simon and Hunter and you have your seven. But, again, we've thrown out Eveland and there would still be three extra starters along with O'Day, Eyre et al on the outside looking in.

I'll say one thing: Orioles manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair won't be bored this spring. Maybe frustrated, but definitely not bored.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 8:18 pm
 

Will A-Rod pass torch to Harper as most disliked?

By Matt Snyder

Earlier Wednesday, Forbes.com released its annual list of most disliked athletes, and only one baseball player appeared on it. Not surprisingly, it was Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. Now, I don't say that because I personally dislike A-Rod (I don't), but it's pretty evident he's the most hated baseball player among casual fans nation-wide.

[EYE ON NFL: Suh, Vick, Burress among most-disliked athletes]

But seeing the list got me thinking -- from a baseball standpoint, because that's what I do -- of two different things. First of all, that's pretty cool that only one player made the list. The NBA and NFL combined for seven of the top 10. Plus, a few years ago, I'm sure A-Rod would have been joined by Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.

So is baseball becoming more irrelevant? I'd say no. The World Series got gigantic ratings and earlier this year was tied with college football for second in a poll of America's favorite sport (take a wild guess as to what was No. 1).

So it's entirely possible baseball's new crop of players are just that much more likable. The testing for PEDs has to help, obviously, because fans really seem to hate guys getting rich and taking down records from beloved players like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and the like by cheating the system. I feel like there's more to it, but that's probably a different discussion for a different day.

Anyway, the second thing that came to mind was this: A-Rod's been a fan punching bag for far too long. Isn't it old at this point? And, really, "A-Roid?" C'mon, let's be more creative than that. Baseball needs a new Public Enemy No. 1.

Bud Selig probably qualifies for many, judging from the intense ire he draws in our comments section, just as Frank McCourt and the Wilpon family do, but this is only for players.

And my best guess is Bryce Harper.

Just as I did with A-Rod above, I'll start by pointing out that I don't dislike Harper. My colleague Gregg Doyel wrote last August about how unfairly maligned Harper is. But there's only so much that can do. Let's look at the elements that I subjectively think usually cause the national public to dislike a player -- and see how they apply to Harper.

1. He's rich. C'mon. Let's face it. Jealousy is what drives most hate, and many fans are jealous of rich athletes to begin with. But it can't be just this, otherwise every single player would be hated.

2. He's not like them. Bryce Harper was so talented he began to gain significant hype when he was 15 years old. He was rich before he turned 18, so it wasn't like he labored as an adult to "make it." Also, many sports fans are loyal to their teams and cities. Harper is a fair weather fan. He recently took to Twitter to defend himself for growing up a fan of: Duke basketball, USC football, the Yankees, the Lakers and the Cowboys. I'm guessing that makes millions of fans cringe.

3. Excessive hype. Fans generally seem to get sick of hearing about guys and hard-core baseball fans have already been hearing about Harper for the past three-plus years. And he's still not even 20. It's only going to build as he gets closer to joining the Nationals.

4. Outward arrogance/bad PR. While Harper works hard, never gets in trouble off the field and seems to have great intentions, he's had a few public relations issues already. He blew a kiss at a pitcher after homering off him in the minors last year. He was ejected from a game for screaming at an umpire. At the Future's Game last year, he missed a cutoff man that ended up costing his team a run, but in the locker room he said he didn't care that he just wanted to show off his arm. It also didn't help when a coach said he faced the most scrutiny of any player since Jackie Robinson (which isn't a comparison, but when the names are used side-by-side it just feels wrong to many).

Fair or not -- and I'd argue almost all of this is unfair -- many fans are already taking to message boards and Twitter and calling Harper things like a "spoiled little kid." I'm guessing that Harper hits this list within the next few years. So maybe A-Rod passes the torch to Harper.

And here's the thing that is most important: The entire general public doesn't "hate" someone irrelevant. So Nationals fans should actually be rooting for Harper to be good enough to "deserve," if you will, the impending wave of scorn.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com