Hal Steinbrenner says Alex Rodriguez is getting too much of the blame

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a telephone interview with the Associated Press earlier today and you’ll be shocked to learn that he was asked about Alex Rodriguez.

While Steinbrenner wouldn’t discuss any speculation about whether Rodriguez will be back in New York next season, he did say that the the 37-year-old is getting too much of the blame for the team’s ALCS loss to the Tigers.

“He was just one of quite a few that just had a bad time at the plate,” the team’s co-chairperson said Friday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “So is it fair to accuse him of everything but the Kennedy assassination? No, it’s not fair, but we’ll see what happens from this point on.”

Rodriguez’s situation has naturally received a lot of attention over the past week, so he has been cast as the scapegoat in some circles, but he’s pretty far down the list among those responsible for the Yankees’ ALCS loss. One could argue that he’s even less to blame than his replacement Eric Chavez, who was 0-for-8 with four strikeouts during the series and made defensive miscues in both Games 3 and 4. But what fun is that?

As for A-Rod’s future in pinstripes, he said after last night’s game that he has no plans to waive no-trade clause. Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com earlier today that he has no intention to shop Rodriguez this offseason. Unfortunately, I’m guessing we haven’t heard the last of this story.

Yasiel Puig was late to a workout on Monday, so Dave Roberts benched him

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Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.

Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.

Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.

MLB, MLBPA grant Pirates exemption for Jung Ho Kang to participate in Dominican Winter League

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.

Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.

Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.