Today’s statement from Alex Rodriguez didn’t say much, but the fact he mentioned baseball’s collective bargaining agreement — and didn’t issue a second denial of any Anthony Bosch connection — certainly suggests that Rodriguez does not believe the league could suspend him even if it wanted to.
“I am down here (in Tampa) doing my job and working hard and will continue to do so until I’m back playing,” Rodriguez said.
Reporting from Florida, The Associated Press noted that both Rodriguez and Derek Jeter were at the Yankees minor league complex today. Rodriguez didn’t speak, and Jeter — as you might expect — didn’t say much, including a refusal to comment on the latest Rodriguez saga.
However, for the first time, manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that Rodriguez is now expected to rejoin the Yankees before Jeter. That’s what’s happening in the video. Despite missing all of spring training, Rodriguez has clearly moved ahead of Jeter and could be back in the Yankees lineup — barring any sort of setback or league impact — sooner than The Captain.
“He’s further ahead than Derek, I think,” Girardi said. “We’ve said both of them after the All-Star break and Derek hasn’t really done any baseball activity yet.”
• In these large West Coast stadiums, Girardi said he’s not completely opposed to the idea of using Lyle Overbay in the outfield, but he won’t do it as much as he did earlier this week in New York. “If I use him, I’ll keep him in right field and I would move someone else if I do that,” Girardi said. “I probably wouldn’t use him as much as I would at home, but I think you still have to keep him involved. I don’t think I would run him out three days in a row.”
• Girardi on still batting Robinson Cano second, despite having players off the disabled list: “The more at-bats we get Robbie, I think, in a lot of ways the better off you are. I like him there. It’s not something I can’t switch — against a lefty, you saw I put him fourth – but he’s had success there and we’ll just keep him there tonight.”
• Nothing wrong with Chris Stewart, Girardi said. Just a day off and a chance for Austin Romine to play again.
• Ichiro Suzuki on coming back to Seattle: “I was here 12 years, but I didn’t realize how many Starbucks there were. … Obviously I know this place really well and am really close to it. At the same time, I kind of feel distant. It just feels really weird to me.”
• Last time Phil Hughes faced the Mariners it, umm, didn’t go well. A less home-run-friendly ballpark here in Seattle might help him. “The ability is there,” Girardi said. “To me, it’s good location of his fastball and using his other pitches. Trying to stay out of long counts; when he gets in long counts, they foul a lot of pitches off him, his pitch count skyrockets and it’s harder for him to get through innings. To me, it’s using all his pitches and trying to get quick outs.”
Associated Press photo