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.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
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.