“We love you A-Rod”

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That’s what someone shouted from their car at Alex Rodriguez as he left the Yankees training complex yesterday as he finished his first day of baseball activities following hip surgery.

Kevin Kernan of the Post has a story about it. A-Rod says all the right things. It’s like the Yankees Department of Mystique and Aura wrote his script for him. He said it’s like “being 8 years old again.” He’s excited about the future, admits to feeling embarrassed about how last season ended and, while being cautious about his timetable for return, waxes positive and optimistic. If all of the things he said came out of Derek Jeter’s mouth no one would bat an eye.

This had to bug Kernan and the Post sports editors. Absolutely NOTHING in there with which to criticize Rodriguez. So he added this at the end:

With those words, Rodriguez got into his Maybach, a vehicle that sells for about $416,000, and was off — finally, his first day of baseball activities behind him.

I don’t ever recall reading about what car Jeter or Teixeira or Granderson or anyone else drove away in from the training facility, let alone how much it cost. The only reason for the car stuff and the misleading scene-setting is to signal to Post readers that A-Rod is rich and different in order to stoke some sort of “he’s an out-of-touch big shot” fires. That’s it.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.