UPDATE: Doctor hired by A-Rod did not examine him, merely looked at an MRI

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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.

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.