To prepare for his return to the Yankees after missing the entire 2014 season while serving out a 162-game PED suspension, Alex Rodriguez has enlisted the help of baseball’s home run king (and central figure of the “steroid era”) — Barry Bonds.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the two have been spotted working together at a Bay Area baseball facility called Future Prospects, owned by Bonds’ friend and former Arizona State teammate Charles Scott. Bonds has trained other major league hitters, like Dexter Fowler and Michael Morse, so this isn’t all that weird on a pure instructional level. Who knows more about late-career productivity — whatever you think of PEDs — than Bonds?
A-Rod, who will turn 40 years old in July, said last week that he expects to win the Yankees’ starting third base job this spring. It’s far more likely that he’ll DH, given that Chase Headley was retained.
Rodriguez is due a total of $64 million from the Yankees over the next three seasons. He also carries some marketing bonuses for career home run benchmarks.
Bonds and A-Rod have 1,416 career home runs between them.
Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”
Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.
A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.
Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.
Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.