Alex Rodriguez’s lawyer accuses the Yankees of being misleading about his client’s injury

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When denying a report that his camp had leaked the names of Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli to the press, Alex Rodriguez cryptically said yesterday that “for the next seven weeks, it’s going to be a very, very bumpy road.” He wasn’t kidding.

Rodriguez’s bombastic new lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, has made some pretty bold claims in an interview with the New York Times, the most prominent of which is that the Yankees hid results of an MRI that showed a torn labrum in his hip and allowed him to play hurt in the postseason last year.

“They rolled him out there like an invalid and made him look like he was finished as a ballplayer,” Tacopina said.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in Tacopina’s all-out-assault. In addition to claiming that the Yankees and MLB are working in concert to ruin his client, he relayed a supposed conversation where team president Randy Levine wished A-Rod’s hip injury would prevent him from every playing again.

Rodriguez learned the extent of his injuries in the off-season, and the Yankees sent him to Dr. Bryan T. Kelly, a prominent surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Tacopina said Kelly later told Rodriguez that before the surgery, Levine told Kelly, “I don’t ever want to see him on the field again.”

“It sent chills down Alex’s spine,” Tacopina said.

And while the “What would George do?” card is usually reserved for hacky columnists, Tacopina found a way to use it in defense of his client.

“We have basically had enough,” Tacopina said Friday night. “The process is being perverted when they act the way they do to make their case. They are pushing Alex to his limit.”

He added: “The legacy of George Steinbrenner would be horrified. This is the New York Yankees. This isn’t some thug-culture club.”

Oh, how soon we forget Howie Spira. In any case, Levine told the New York Times that “each and every one of these allegations is specious and completely false.” He also told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger that A-Rod needs to “put up or shut up” and file a grievance if he “really believes” that he was mistreated by the team.

By the way, Rodriguez is in the lineup at third base this afternoon against the Red Sox. This situation is reaching new levels of awkward.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.