UPDATE: The Post has comments from the doctor. He never examined A-Rod. He merely reviewed A-Rod’s MRI at his request. His verdict: he didn’t say anything significant on the MRI. That said, he takes great pains to say that he wasn’t giving a formal second opinion and is in no position to say whether or not A-Rod can play. It was merely his take on the MRI.
Which sorta makes it sound like A-Rod is doctor shopping with the purpose of getting some sort of message across in what one can only assume is a pretty tense showdown between he and the Yankees regarding his ability to play. Or about the P.R. component regarding whether he is able to play. Which isn’t quite the same thing.
1:30 PM: This is simply delicious:
Is he faking? Are the Yankees keeping him out on purpose? Is the doctor crazypants? Are these things mutually-exclusive? I’d say (a) maybe; (b) maybe; (c) maybe; (d) no.
And that no matter what the truth is here, someone is gonna come out looking bad. Either A-Rod for appearing to be hiding, the Yankees for being unwilling — possibly out of P.R. concerns — to activate a player who might actually improve their team, even if it’s just for a week or two before Bud’s hammer comes down.
As for the doctor: man, this guy sure does speak out of turn a lot for a dude who is supposed to keep client confidentiality. Probably worth noting that doctors can only do that if their patient tells them they can …
As for the Yankees: boy, A-Rod being totally healthy sure would look bad for their alleged attempts to get insurance to cover his contract on some disability retirement scheme. It’s almost as if someone in A-Rod’s position would like to see the Yankees squirm a bit here. It’s almost as if they’d like him to STFU. Hmm …
All I know is that I hope it’s A-Rod who is seen as the bad actor here. He’s murdered 19 people after all, so I’m sure he can take the heat.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.