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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.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.