Alex Rodriguez met with the media for the first time in several months before today’s Yankees-Red Sox game in New York, but predictably didn’t answer many questions about the Biogenesis clinic he’s been linked to.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger sets the scene:
Rodriguez said he has met with the MLBPA to discuss his situation, but would not delve into details. He insisted he does not feel like the target of MLB’s probe, and that he is not worried about being suspended for violating the league’s drug policy.
“No, I’m not,” Rodriguez said. “But I’m not going to further discuss this. At some point, I feel that everything will be good.”
Those were his parting words. He was surrounding by a dense scrum of reporters, a group that likely stretched into triple digits.
Rodriguez also indicated that a midseason return remains the goal as he recovers from hip surgery, insisted he had no interest in being introduced with the Yankees today, and said that “missing spring training obviously sucks … it’s been a tough pill to swallow.”
Jayson Nix is starting at third base for the Yankees today.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.