A-Rod’s 2009 never happened, people. Got me? IT NEVER HAPPENED

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While I take issue with the reporting of the role that the flirting business is playing in A-Rod’s benching, I don’t take issue with the chorus of voices speculating that A-Rod is on his way out of town.  I mean, if I’m the Yankees I try to give him a healthy spring to see what he has in the tank for 2013, but it would not shock me at all if he was shopped this offseason.

Others feel this way too. And in addition to talking about a Yankees future without Rodriguez, they’re doing a good job of scrubbing the past clean of him as well.

Take Mike Lupica, for instance, who is doing God’s work in correcting the record so that the Fail-Rod narrative can be applied without complication once he’s gone:

Alex Rodriguez is not Reggie Jackson no matter how many home runs he has hit, on or off steroids, and even though he was Mr. October 2009 once. You look back on it now, on that October, in light of what happened for him in the postseason before that and after, if he made some kind of “Damn Yankees” deal with the devil, even though he was playing for the Yankees at the time.

Now he has become the damned Yankee, and it is why he is gone when this season is over.

Got that? 2009 didn’t happen. It was Satan at work, and thus there is no need to think of Rodriguez as ever being a good player in pinstripes.  Now, where is my airbrush so that I can take him out of all of the photos …

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.