Alex Rodriguez: “I refuse to quit”

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today conducted an interesting interview with Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is currently two games into a minor league rehab assignment as he attempts to make his way back from hip surgery. It’s well worth your time.

There’s a lot to chew on with this interview, but the main gist is that Rodriguez has every intention of coming back, even though he’s well aware that many Yankees fans would like to see him gone.

“I know people think I’m nuts,” he tells USA TODAY Sports, in his first extensive interview since last season. “I know most people wouldn’t want the confrontation. Most people would say, ‘Get me out of here. Trade me. Do anything.’

“But I’m the (expletive) crazy man who goes, ‘I want to compete. I want to stay in New York. I refuse to quit.’

“Maybe it’s stupidity, I don’t know, but I’m wired to compete and give my best. I have a responsibility to be ready to play as soon as I can.”

Rodriguez was asked about his connection to the Biogenesis clinic in South Florida, but said he has been instructed by his lawyers not to comment on the allegations until MLB finishes their investigation.

“Right now, we kind of got our hands tied,” he says. “It’s so hard and frustrating because we’re in a world that you’re guilty before being proven innocent.

“It’s not supposed to (expletive) be that way.”

Rodriguez, who turns 38 later this month, went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in two rehab games with Class A Charleston this week. He’s moving up to High-A Tampa on Friday and hopes to rejoin the Yankees on July 22 against the Rangers in Texas.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.