The Daily News is still pushing the “A-Rod will never play again” angle

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This is getting pathological. The New York Daily News has been pushing the idea that A-Rod will never play again angle for some time. Their thinking, as much as I can follow it anyway, is that A-Rod, in an effort to protect his legacy or his money or avoid Biogenesis punishment or … something … is going to try to portray himself as physically unable to play, sit back and collect his salary either from the Yankees or insurance companies or both.

That meme went a bit quiet for a couple weeks as A-Rod played in rehab games and actually hit home runs and stuff. Now, after A-Rod has been put on a shelf with a strained quad, it’s back again with a vengeance. Here’s John Harper:

Whether it is convenient timing for Alex Rodriguez or simply revealing of the state of his body, the quadriceps strain that showed up on an MRI on Sunday is more reason than ever to believe that A-Rod will never play for the Yankees again … If he can make that case before a suspension becomes official, Daily News’ sources say that insurance policies, either that of the Yankees’ or A-Rod’s personal policy, would allow him to keep all or most of the money he would otherwise lose.
So was he really only an unforeseen quad injury away from being activated? Or was something like this going to get in the way of him rejoining the Yankees as the time on his 20-day minor league rehab ran out?

I love conspiracy theories, but only to the extent they make a lick of sense. No, I have no idea if A-Rod will ever play again. He could get hit by a bus tomorrow. He could strain three more things and then need Tommy John surgery. His could be the first Tommy John surgery in history to be described as “unsuccessful” after it’s over by virtue of a honey badger breaking into the operating room and killing the anesthesiologist. I really have no clue.

But I do know that the Daily News’ insurance theory makes no sense as they’ve described it. A-Rod does not save any money if he’s on the DL when he gets suspended for Biogenesis (he loses salary either way). Nothing in his history or character suggests he’ll simply choose to go away with a fake medical retirement out of shame or embarrassment because he has no shame and seems incapable of it. Finally, and most importantly, the notion that the Yankees can simply make a phone call to an insurance company after what, under Harper’s theory, is a bogus quad injury and expect checks for tens of millions of dollars to start arriving is beyond laughable. The man was playing baseball games pretty effectively four days ago.

Derek Jeter strains his quad after rehab and its a quad strain. A-Rod does it and it’s a sinister plot. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose, but I can’t help but wondering how on Earth the Daily News publishes this stuff with a straight face.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.