Is this the Yankees’ way of telling Alex Rodriguez to put up or shut up? They have their 38-year-old former MVP batting cleanup Monday against the White Sox in his 2013 debut.
It’s A-Rod’s first start for the Yankees since Game 2 of last year’s ALCS against the Tigers. Playing on a bad hip that required surgery, Rodriguez hit sixth behind Raul Ibanez and Russell Martin in that one. He wound up finishing 1-for-4 and then took a seat for Games 3 and 4 in the Tigers’ sweep, though he did go 0-for-2 off the bench in Game 4.
If Rodriguez were returning in a more traditional fashion tonight, he may well have started off hitting fifth or sixth. His .214/.333/.452 line in 42 minor league at-bats during his rehab assignment doesn’t exactly scream cleanup hitter.
Rodriguez, though, tried to dictate the pace of his own returning, putting himself at odds with the Yankees more than once. He says he’s ready, so now the team expects to prove it.
With A-Rod batting fourth, Alfonso Soriano has moved up to second in the order versus left-hander Jose Quintana. Vernon Wells is batting fifth and making his first career start at first base, not that anyone will notice.
ST. LOUIS — Miles Mikolas is sticking with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The right-hander signed a three-year, $55.75 million contract on Friday that will carry through the 2025 season.
The new deal replaces a $68 million, four-year contract signed in February 2019 that covered the 2020-23 seasons and was set to pay $15.75 million this year.
Mikolas will receive a $5 million signing bonus payable July 1 and will make $18.75 million in 2023 and $16 million in each of the following two seasons. Mikolas can earn a $250,000 bonus for winning a Cy Young Award, $50,000 for All-Star election or selection or winning a Gold Glove, $100,000 for League Championship Series MVP and $150,000 for World Series MVP.
Mikolas is scheduled to make the second opening-day start of his big league career next Thursday when the Cardinals host Toronto. Mikolas went 12-13 with a 3.29 ERA last season while helping St. Louis to the NL Central title.
“Miles stands among the top pitchers in the game today, and has continued to provide a steady presence for us both in the rotation and inside the clubhouse,” St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement.
Mikolas is 45-40 with a 3.79 in 143 games with San Diego, Texas and St. Louis. He recently pitched six shutout innings in two appearances for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic.