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Apparently ego and vanity are the only reasons A-Rod is appealing

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That’s if you believe Bob Klapisch, of course.  He takes a look at A-Rod’s return to the Yankees and — despite noting that the Yankees are awful and A-Rod is actually looking like he is capable of helping the team — he casts a cynical eye on Rodriguez’s presence on the Yankees. And it’s not even a money thing. Klapisch even admits that anyone would play if there was money at stake so it’s hard to fault Rodriguez for that. But:

Given the inevitable humiliation that awaits, A-Rod is using the last two months of the season to build up equity with the fans. Only a fool would believe that’s possible – that home runs in meaningless games will clear the stench of years of PEDs use. But that’s how Rodriguez rolls, swaddled by ego, a tone-deaf vanity and his PR staff that never let Rodriguez forget he is larger than life. So A-Rod on about rescuing the Yankees, but he has to know that’s beyond anyone’s grasp. Instead, it’s all about the stage – his stage, just the way baseball’s greatest narcissist likes it.

I forgot the part where A-Rod claimed he could “rescue the Yankees,” but hey, if you want to paint someone in the most negative light possible sometimes you have to take some liberties. After all, it’s boring to say that A-Rod is playing because (a) he’s a healthy baseball player under contract; who (b) is eligible to play because his suspension is under appeal. Much better to chalk it all up to vanity and ego and stuff.

But really, the efforts people are taking to make mounting a defense to a draconian punishment look like evidence of bad character on A-Rod’s part is amusing. I mean, it’s not like you need to find new avenues for attacking A-Rod’s character. But even if you do, this is an odd one, as I’m really curious to know whether Klapisch or any of his like-minded noble souls would simply roll over and accept four times (and then some) the workplace punishment they thought they were subject to beforehand.  Would they not fight that, even if they were as guilty as sin? Would they not continue coming to work if their union contract said they could?

Nah, of course they wouldn’t. They aren’t so vain, egocentric and narcissistic as all that, I’m sure. They’d just disappear.

Stephen Strasburg unlikely to pitch in the NLDS

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals walks off the field after an injury in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 7, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.

Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.

The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.

A.J. Cole fined, suspended five games for throwing at Jung Ho Kang

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Home plate umpire Jordan Baker ejects A.J. Cole #22 of the Washington Nationals in the third inning during the game at PNC Park on September 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.

Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.

Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.