Alex Rodriguez reportedly expects to be in Yankees’ starting lineup on Monday in Chicago

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Alex Rodriguez will file an appeal to his expected suspension and will be in the Yankees’ starting lineup on Monday, according to a report by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Rodriguez faces a ban through the 2014 season, which is expected to be announced by Major League Baseball on Monday, according to NBC Sports sources. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, players with pending appeals are allowed to play until a verdict is rendered. The latest from Nightengale:

Alex Rodriguez will be suspended through at least the 2014 season in an announcement Monday by Major League Baseball, but the New York Yankees third baseman plans to file an appeal that will enable him to play that evening against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, two people with direct knowledge of the plan told USA TODAY Sports.

There’s been talk of commissioner Bud Selig enacting a best-interest-of-MLB clause to prevent A-Rod from playing while he appeals his suspension, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post says Selig is unlikely to go through with that because he doesn’t want to get into a court battle the MLBPA.

A-Rod’s appeal will be heard by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz within the next three weeks. He one of several players who face punishment for their alleged involvement with Biogenesis, a shuttered Miami wellness clinic, and all of the suspensions are expected to be announced Monday, according to multiple reports. Ryan Braun in July accepted a suspension for the remainder of the season for receiving PEDs from the clinic.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi spoke openly about the situation before Sunday’s series finale against the Padres at Petco Park: “I think all of us are curious what’s going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what’s going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this. Because in my mind I have him penciled in here tomorrow. … I don’t suspect it’ll be awkward. Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it’ll be business as usual.”

Rodriguez, 38, went 9-for-42 (.214/.333/.452) with three home runs and 10 RBI in 15 rehab games.

Yankees third basemen have hit .215/.273/.286 with four homers and 32 RBI in 109 games this year.

The Astros continue to refuse to take responsibility for the Taubman Affair

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I’m calling it the “Taubman Affair” because writing “the incident in which a top front office executive — Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman — taunted a reporter for her past opposition to the team acquiring a domestic abuser, after which the team lied, aggressively about it, accusing another reporter of fabricating a story, then admitted that they lied but made no apology for smearing the reporter” is too unwieldy for a headline.

If you need catching up on it, though, you can read this, this or this.

The latest on it all: yesterday, after walking back their angry denial that the incident ever occurred and admitting that, yes, Taubman did in fact gleefully and profanely target a reporter for taunting, the team basically went silent and let Game 1 unfold.

Today General Manager Jeff Luhnow went on a team-friendly radio station (i.e. the station that broadcasts Astros games). In the entire segment he was asked only one question about it: “Your thoughts on the SI article, Jeff.” Luhnow said that he would withhold comment, but apologized to “everybody involved,” including the fans and the players, saying “this situation should have never happened.” You can listen to the entire segment here.

He did not, however, make any specific mention of what “this situation” was. Nor did he acknowledge that, actually, it’s at least two “situations:” (1) the initial behavior of Taubman; and (2) Monday night’s team-sanctioned attack of Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, who reported it. Indeed, at no time in the team’s now multiple comments has anyone acknowledged that, as an organization, the Houston Astros’s first impulse in all of this was to attempt to bully and discredit a reporter for what has now been established as a truthful report to which the Astros have admitted. And they certainly have not voiced any specific regret or offered any form of accountability for it.

Major League Baseball is apparently investigating Taubman’s conduct. But it is not, presumably, investigating the Astros’ disingenuous smear of Apstein. A smear that the Astros likely undertook because they figured they could intimidate Apstein and, what may even be worse, because they assumed that the rest of the press — many of whom were witnesses to Taubman’s act — would go along or remain silent. If they did not think that, of course, releasing the statement they did would’ve been nonsensical. It speaks of an organization that believes it can either bully or manipulate the media into doing its bidding or covering for the teams’ transgressions. That part of this has gone wholly uncommented on by the Astros and apparently will for the foreseeable future. No matter how this shakes out for Taubman, if the Astros do not talk about how and why they decided to baselessly attack Apstein on Monday night, nothing they ever say should be trusted again.

More broadly, everything the Astros are doing now is the same as when they traded for Roberto Osuna in the first place.

In 2018 they wanted to do an unpopular thing — arbitrage a player’s domestic violence suspension into the acquisition of cheap relief help — while wanting to appear as though they were good actors who had a “zero tolerance for domestic violence” policy. To solve that problem they shoveled a lot of malarkey about how “zero tolerance” actually includes a fair amount of tolerance and hoped that everyone would go along. When not everyone did — when fans brought signs of protest to the ballpark or expressed their displeasure with Osuna’s presence on the roster — they confiscated them then hoped it’d all blow over and, eventually, via Taubman’s rant on Saturday night, lashed out at their critics.

Here, again, they want to do something unpopular: retain a boorish and insensitive executive in Taubman without him or the team suffering any consequences for it, be they actual consequences or mere P.R. fallout. Again, it’s kind of hard to pull that off, so to do so they falsely accused a reporter of lying and then circled the wagons when they caught heat for it.

I have no idea how long they plan to keep this up. Maybe they are calculating that people will forget and that forgetting is the same as forgiveness. Maybe they simply don’t care. All I do know is that folks will be teaching the Astros’ response to all of this as a counterexample in crisis management courses for years.