Bothered by a sore left hamstring, Alex Rodriguez will make his fourth straight start out of the DH spot this afternoon against the Red Sox. He’s nowhere close to 100 percent at the moment, as he had the chance to score the go-ahead run last night on a double by Robinson Cano, but had to pull up at third base.
As Rodriguez told David Lennon of New York Newsday, he’s taking precaution against suffering what could be a season-ending injury. And after losing Brett Gardner to an oblique strain on Thursday, that’s the last thing the Yankees need.
“I’m just trying to go where it doesn’t blow out,” Rodriguez said after Friday night’s 8-4 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “That’s pretty much it.”
Rodriguez is expected to remain in the DH spot through the weekend, which means more of Eduardo Nunez and Mark Reynolds at third base. Reynolds is making the start at the hot corner today.
Rodriguez is batting .287/.387/.492 with six home runs and 13 RBI in 142 plate appearances since joining the Yankees on August 5.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?