Tony Bosch: Alex Rodriguez wanted to start an 800-homer club

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Interviewed by 60 Minutes for Sunday’s show, former drug dealer Tony Bosch says he first met with Alex Rodriguez in 2010 and subsequently gave him numerous performance enhancers and supplements over the following two years, including the banned substances testosterone, hGH and insulin growth factor.

Bosch said upon meeting Rodriguez the former MVP asked him immediately what he gave Manny Ramirez that led to Ramirez’s resurgence in 2008 after joining the Dodgers. Bosch, who allegedly injected Rodriguez himself on occasion, added that A-Rod was driven to become the first player ever to hit 800 homers.

Bosch stated that he loves baseball, but that he had no qualms about supplying players with PEDs, something he did for as long as 10 years. He commented on how he might have been merely leveling the playing field for Rodriguez, since the pitcher, “the guy catching the baseball” and “the guy Alex tags out at third base” were also likely cheating.

Of course, those comments couldn’t have gone over particularly well with the league, which paid Bosch for his cooperation, as well as protected him. The closest thing to a bombshell provided during the interview was that a known associate of Rodriguez was one of several who alledgedly threatened Bosch’s life. Bosch also said A-Rod’s team offered to send him to Colombia and pay him $150,000 to lay low until everything blew over.

Bosch added that beating MLB’s drug testing wasn’t any problem at all. The testosterone troches he gave Rodriguez could be taken in the first inning of a contest and still leave no evidence behind for a postgame urine testing. Nothing, though, was said about Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal. Those three were Bosch clients who all failed drug tests and received 50-game suspensions in 2012. Other clients, such as Ryan Braun and Jhonny Peralta, never failed drug tests but were suspended last season anyway.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig and COO Rob Manfred both did interviews for CBS. Neither was asked why exactly Rodriguez deserved the original 211-game suspension, now reduced to 162 games, when others received 50-game bans. Manfred said Rodriguez attempted to bribe Bosch, which was obviously in poor taste given that MLB was also in the process of bribing him by paying him and dropping a lawsuit against him. Selig said Rodriguez did things that were unprecedented during his 50 years in baseball, but never truly elaborated.

The enhanced suspension is still at the heart of the matter here, and tonight’s interview did nothing to answer the questions about why A-Rod was punished so more severely than everyone else. While no one is shedding tears for the disgraced 14-time All-Star, there’s still no clear reason why he was treated so harshly, other than the idea that it was simply Selig’s whim.

The other thing of interest here is the timeline. A-Rod started seeing Bosch in Aug. 2010, according to the interview, and continued receiving supplies into the 2012 season. It certainly doesn’t seem as though Rodriguez’s performance was enhanced by the partnership, though. His OPS has declined every year since 2007.

2007: 1.067
2008: .965
2009: .933
2010: .847
2011: .823
2012: .783
2013: .771

For what it’s worth, Rodriguez may have gotten a boost immediately after meeting Bosch. He had his best month of the season that September, hitting .295/.375/.600 with nine of his 30 homers.

Also of note: besides Ramirez coming up in passing, no player other than Rodriguez was brought up by Bosch or anyone else during the interview. That even though he said he had been working with players for 10 years.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.