Wandy Rodriguez must be the worst spring pitcher ever

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Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez gave up four runs — two earned — and walked five in 3 2/3 innings Thursday in a loss to the Mets. And this is what passes for one of his better spring outings.

The loss left Rodriguez 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in three starts this spring. Since 2006, the left-hander is 4-17 with a 7.44 ERA during Grapefruit League action. He’s allowed 96 runs — 86 earned — in 104 innings. During that same timeframe, he’s 63-65 with a 3.89 ERA in the regular season.

What makes it especially odd is that Rodriguez turns it on the moment the regular season starts. April is actually his best month, as he has a 3.17 ERA in 28 career starts. His next best ERA in any month is a 3.81 mark in July.

So, next time Wandy says he’s just working on a pitch after one of his poor spring outings, one should probably take him at his word. It’s not at all unusual for pitchers to post lousy spring ERAs and then get it going once the opening bell rings, but no one does it quite as consistently as Rodriguez.

Report: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach 9-year, $360M deal

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SAN DIEGO — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.