OK, so maybe the Yankees will have some A-Rod-induced headaches in 2014 after all.
While Rodriguez was banned for the entirety of the 2014 season by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz today, his spokesperson Ron Berkowitz told Jon Morosi of FOX Sports that it is “100 percent certain” that the suspended slugger plans to participate in spring training with the Yankees. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal details why he could be allowed to do so:
We have seen similar situations with suspended players in the past, including Manny Ramirez with the Athletics in 2012. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that MLB, the MLBPA, and the Yankees will sort through rules in the coming days to clarify Rodriguez’s status for spring training, but it looks like we could have a circus on our hands in Tampa, Florida.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: