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?

Mets claim Sam Coonrod off waivers from Phillies

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — The active New York Mets added another newcomer to their bullpen mix when they claimed reliever Sam Coonrod off waivers from the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies.

Coonrod had a 7.82 ERA in 12 appearances covering 12 2/3 innings last year for the National League champions. The right-hander is 7-5 with a 5.27 ERA and five saves in 105 games over four major league seasons with San Francisco and Philadelphia. He has struck out 95 and walked 44 in 97 1/3 innings.

The 30-year-old Coonrod was designated for assignment by the Phillies last week when they signed free agent infielder Josh Harrison.

To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Khalil Lee was designated for assignment by the Mets.