Team A-Rod is portraying Tony Bosch as a cocaine user

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New York Magazine reports that Team A-Rod has gone after Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch as a habitual cocaine user. And they have a photo that appears to be Bosch with two small bags of cocaine.

The basis for the claim is a friend of Bosch’s — who himself has a spotty past — who says that Bosch used cocaine regularly in Miami. A-Rod’s lawyers cross examined Bosch about his cocaine use in the arbitration. They were met with objections about the line of questioning from Major League Baseball’s attorneys. When Bosch answered he said “I’ll take the Fifth.”

Now, clearly, Tony Bosch’s credibility as a witness is essential here, as the case comes down to his accusations against Alex Rodriguez and his authentication and explanation of Biogenesis documents which purport to show A-Rod’s PED use. At the same time, courts rarely give much weight to — and often don’t allow — evidence relating to the past bad acts or the bad overall character of a witness as a means of challenging his credibility. Rather, you have to establish that the dirt you have on the witness directly speaks to his credibility, not just his character, habits, addictions or what have you.

I would say this is of little overall consequence in the arbitration. If A-Rod’s lawyers could make more of it maybe it would matter. Say, they could establish that Bosch was in trouble with drug lords and needed money and, well, you can tell any number of tales that could get you from drugs to lying to help Major League Baseball.  But if that came out, the same source leaking the testimony to New York Magazine here would have mentioned it right? And either way, it’s pretty far-fetched.

This is all a part of A-Rod’s throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks defense. It may work in the court of public opinion. It may raise secondary or tertiary questions about Anthony Bosch. But without anything more, drug use is not, in and of itself, likely to affect his overall credibility in the mind of the arbitrator.

Rougned Odor didn’t technically steal home, but he basically did

MLB.com
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Just saw this from last night’s Tigers-Rangers game. It was pretty wild.

Rougned Odor walked in the seventh inning. He broke for second on a steal and was safe due to the throw going wild, allowing him to reach third base. The Tigers called on reliever Daniel Stumpf and he was effective in retiring the next two batters, leaving Odor on third with two out.

Stumpf, a lefty, was paying no attention whatsoever to Odor, so Odor just took off for home, attempting a straight steal. Stumpf was so surprised that he tried to throw home to nail Odor, and in so doing, he balked. That technically means that Odor scored on the balk, but I think it’s safe to say he would’ve scored on the strait steal regardless. Watch:

 

He definitely gets points for style.

 

Aroldis Chapman is pitching himself out of a job

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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.

It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.

It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.

Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:

“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”

That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.