Alex Rodriguez made some pointed comments after his rehab game with Double-A Trenton last night, alleging that certain “entities” were conspiring to prevent him from playing while finding “creative ways” to cancel his contract. While the embattled third baseman didn’t come right out and say it, he certainly gave the impression that the Yankees are one of those “entities.”
The Yankees naturally weren’t thrilled about the comments, as least according to one team source who spoke to the New York Daily News.
“This is typical Alex,” one Yankee official told the Daily News on Saturday. “Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, he blames everybody else. It wasn’t the Yankees who introduced [RODRIGUEZ]to Anthony Bosch. It wasn’t the Yankees who introduced him to Dr. Galea, or anybody else.” (The official was referring to Rodriguez’s association with Bosch, who is believed to have distributed performance-enhancing drugs to scores of athletes, and to Galea, a human growth hormone proponent who treated Rodriguez in 2009.)
The source was also said to be “amused” by Rodriguez’s claim that, “I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs; that’s a must.”
Rodriguez still has $100 million remaining on his $275 million contract. Conspiracy theories aside, the Yankees would benefit greatly from a severe suspension or ban.
While Rodriguez will continue his minor league rehab assignment tonight, MLB is expected to announce suspensions by Monday for those connected to Biogenesis. Eight players — including Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera — are expected to receive 50-game suspensions, but various reports have indicated that MLB is prepared to ban Rodriguez for life if he doesn’t agree to a settlement. Bud Selig has reportedly considered using the “best interests of baseball” clause to keep him off the field if he appeals. And all indications are that Rodriguez is prepared to fight.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”
Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.
Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.