The A-Rod-Randy Levine emails are . . . weird

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Steve Fishman of New York Magazine wrote an epic detailing of the Alex Rodriguez-MLB battle back on December 1. Now, as a spillover from that article, come a series of emails between A-Rod and Yankees president Randy Levine sent from 2011 through the depths of the Biogenesis scandal in August of this year. And they’re, well, weird.

Weird in that they work against each man’s public persona. Levine —  a hard-nosed and intelligent businessman — is often playing the kindly father figure to A-Rod. Meanwhile, Rodiriguez is seriously going to lose points in his competition to become History’s Greatest Monster when everyone sees how often his emails employ the empty jockspeak — “we’ll win tomorrow!” — that is supposedly what head-on-straight athletes are supposed to use.

But overall the emails show a simultaneous warmth and banality between Levine and Rodriguez that seems … off somehow. Like Levine is sort of pandering to a delicate diva in Rodriguez but isn’t too terribly good at it. Which may very well be the true nature of their 2011-12 relationship but it also speaks of a relationship that didn’t have much trust or familiarity to begin with. And then there are some odd asides — Levine makes two steroids jokes! — that now seem way more significant than they might have at the time. It only gets real and testy toward the end once everyone lawyered up.

I suppose anyone’s email correspondence with their bosses might seem weird to outsiders. These are certainly no exception.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.