Report: Alex Rodriguez believes he will win the starting third base job with the Yankees

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The Yankees retained Chase Headley on a four-year, $52 million contract with the intention of using him as their regular third baseman in 2015, but don’t tell Alex Rodriguez. While he currently projects to serve as a DH and backup corner infielder, a source familiar with his thinking tells Steven Marcus of New York Newsday that Rodriguez believes he will beat out Headley for the starting third base job this spring:

“Alex’s mind is that job’s not Headley’s, it’s Alex’s to lose,” the source said. “That’s what he thinks. Alex is going into training camp thinking that he is the starting third baseman, that if there’s a competition, Headley’s got to win it from him. It doesn’t matter about the money, what they signed Headley for. This guy [Rodriguez] can play.”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was told about Rodriguez’s mindset and said “we signed our third baseman,” so it’s clear where he stands on the situation. Still, is it really the worst thing for A-Rod to feel this way? He’ll probably be called delusional or something, but remember that he’s a hyper-competitive athlete with pride and an ego. If Headley’s presence provides that extra motivation for the 39-year-old to come into camp ready to prove folks wrong and contribute after his year-long PED suspension, so be it.

The story from New York Newsday makes it sound like the Rodriguez-Headley dynamic could look like this in 2015, but Kevin Kernan of the New York Post got a different take from a friend of A-Rod:

“Alex is looking at this season as a fresh start,” one friend said. “He’s prepared to do the best he can in his role as a DH, but he is also preparing to play third base, knowing there will be times that Headley needs a break.

He knows that Joe Girardi is a manager who likes to have options and wants to keep all his players fresh, so he knows he will get some time at third, and he feels being used in that way is good for the team overall. Everyone can get a break.

“He’s really got a positive approach to the whole thing, and the way he has been working to get in shape and also keep himself flexible has been impressive.”

A-Rod is ready and willing to accept his new diminished role. That’s not nearly as exciting, now is it?

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.