News flash: Mike Lupica takes cheapshots at A-Rod

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Mike Lupica’s latest column about A-Rod and the Dr. Galea investigation stands as proof that he’s never been involved in a federal investigation:

Come on, there are more things fishy about all this than the old Fulton Fish Market. If the whole thing is so easily explained, if Rodriguez is “at ease” with the whole situation as he told the media in Florida the other day, how come he hasn’t cleared some of this up already, no matter how lawyered up he is.

Sometimes people bring lawyers with them when they talk to the feds
because they want to make sure they don’t incriminate themselves. But
if that’s the case with A-Rod, you’re probably thinking:

Incriminate himself about what?

I’m not the most suspicious person in the world. I still trust my government. I pay my taxes. I don’t think I’m under surveillance. I haven’t joined any militias this week or anything. But I can tell you one thing: if federal agents asked me to come in and talk to them, especially about a drug case, I’d have a lawyer with me no matter how tenuous and benign my connection to the matter.

Maybe the agents on the Galea case are nice young men, but federal drug prosecutions have been known to go off the rails in search of secondary ant tertiary targets pretty quickly. Can’t get the main guy? Get one of his lieutenants. Can’t get a lieutenant? Go after a major user. Can’t make a case against a user? Well, at least we can sift through the records and build a tax case against someone based on what we learned in interviews. No tax case? Well, perhaps we can just throw together false statement case against one of the many witnesses.  Yeah, let’s make it against the high profile dude so it doesn’t look like we’re picking on average citizens.

Against that backdrop — a backdrop that Lupica, having not just fallen off the turnip truck is no doubt aware of — his comments about A-Rod “lawyering up” are nothing more than cynical sensationalism in the service of cheap and easy potshots against a favorite target.

Or as Lupica calls it: Monday.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.