The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Yankees set for a first-place showdown

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 15, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees won’t see Stephen Strasburg this weekend, but really, Strasburg is old news here in Washington. This is Bryce Harper’s town now.

“I love big talent,” Alex Rodriguez said. “I love unique talent. I’m just a baseball fan like you guys are. To see a 19-year-old do some of the things that he’s doing, it’s pretty darn special. I’m excited to see him.”

There aren’t many baseball players who can relate to what Harper’s experiencing — playing at this level, at that age, with that much hype and expectation — but Rodriguez is one of them. Harper’s considered a one-of-a-kind talent. Two decades ago, Rodriguez was considered the same.

“I love everything (about Harper),” Rodriguez said. “The power, he’s electric, very good baserunner. He reminds me a little bit of Larry Walker as a very good baserunner — fearless. That type of talent, I’m a huge baseball fan above all, even above being a baseball player. He’s the kind of guy I would pay my money to watch play. I’m sure well after I’m done, I’ll be paying my money to watch him play and break all the records.”

The Nationals are getting a lot of attention this season, and it’s deserved. The organization has been stockpiling young talent for a while now, and that young talent is starting to translate into big league wins. This isn’t a series of the big, bad Yankees against the lowly Nats. These are two first-place teams.

“They’re playing great right now,” Joe Girardi said. “And it’s a lot of young kids that seem to be aggressive. They’ve pitched extremely well. I think they’re No. 1 in pitching, No. 1 in defense. They’re just playing good baseball, so yeah, I am excited.”

The Nationals are playing extremely well, but so are the Yankees. It’s a good matchup, an interesting series, and an up-close look at arguably the best young player in the game.

“A lot of the young players come for a lot of advice,” Rodriguez said. “They call, text or email. I’m always available for them, whether you’re on my team or another team. I’m available if he wants to talk, but I’ll definitely say hello.”

Associated Press photo

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