Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, currently in the process of appealing his 2013-14 seasons-ending suspension from Major League Baseball, made his much-anticipated season debut at Yankee Stadium tonight against the Tigers. Prior to seeing the first pitch from starter Rick Porcello in the first inning with a runner on second base and two outs, Rodriguez received a chorus of applause and boos. He quickly fell behind in the count 0-2, then fouled off a pitch before striking out swinging. The Yankee Stadium crowd showered him with boos.
You can watch A-Rod’s first at-bat here, courtesy MLB.com:
Rodriguez has hit safely in each of his first three games since making his season debut on August 5 in Chicago against the White Sox. He will look to continue that streak tonight in support of Yankees starter Ivan Nova.
Update: With a runner on third base and one out in the bottom of the third against Porcello, Rodriguez worked a 2-2 count before striking out again. Had he gotten a base hit or a productive out, Rodriguez would have moved into a sixth-place tie with Stan Musial at 1,951 career runs batted in.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.