New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez speaks during a news conference in Chicago

A-Rod hires the private detectives who helped Dominique Strauss-Kahn beat the rap

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A-Rod is sparing no expense preparing for his appeal:

In his ongoing battle to salvage his reputation and big-league career, Alex Rodriguez has hired the same private-investigation firm Dominique Strauss-Kahn used to successfully contest a 2011 rape allegation … A-Rod must surely be hoping the pricey P.I.’s at Guidepost can deliver the same kind of results they did for DSK. Amid an international media frenzy, the Guidepost investigators were able to quickly obtain damaging information about Strauss-Kahn’s complainant, Nafissatou Diallo. Prosecutors dropped all charges against the former International Monetary Fund chief soon after.

Perhaps this works for A-Rod. Or perhaps this is just a gambit to get people to compare him to Dominique Strauss-Kahn so as to put A-Rod in a better light given how monumental a sleazeball Strauss-Kahn is.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.