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Alex Rodriguez “was a little tentative, a little hesitant” in rehab game

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Alex Rodriguez continued his rehab assignment yesterday at Triple-A, going 1-for-3 with a single, and afterward told Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York that he “was a little tentative, a little hesitant” coming back from July 11 knee surgery.

Rodriguez also played six innings defensively at third base, making one putout, and is scheduled to start there again tonight, with a Thursday return to the Yankees on tap if things go well.

Rodriguez compared his current rehab to coming back from hip surgery in 2009, saying “those last few hurdles are more mental than physical.” However, according to Mazzeo’s recap of the game it sounds like he has some physical issues as well:

Rodriguez botched a pair of foul popups, failing to catch up to one in the fourth, and then overrunning one in the fifth. Both gaffes drew boos from the majority of those in attendance. … After singling in the first, Rodriguez looked tentative as he jogged around first base. He jogged to second after catcher Jesus Montero singled, but was stranded there.

One of the greatest players of all time getting booed while rehabbing knee surgery at Triple-A sounds like one of the saddest things ever, although I suppose that’s become sort of par for the course with Rodriguez.

Mazzeo also notes that he “was sporting a massive ice wrap on his right knee during his postgame press conference with the media” and Rodriguez scoffed at the notion of being close to 100 percent healthy.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.

Raines to wear an Expos cap, Pudge to wear a Rangers cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

1990:  Outfielder Tim Raines of the Montreal Expos in action. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule  /Allsport
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There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.

Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.

Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.

With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.

Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.