Alex Rodriguez will join the FOX Sports crew for pregame coverage of ALCS Game 3 on FS1 tonight at 7 p.m. ET. He will be in-studio with Raúl Ibañez, Pete Rose and Frank Thomas, and he’s scheduled to be on-site for the World Series.
From the press release announcing Rodriguez’s addition to the group:
“Alex has always impressed us from afar with his ability to articulate the game extraordinarily well,” said John Entz, President of Production, FOX Sports. “In meeting with him, it was obvious he has strong recall when it comes to information, a great familiarity with the remaining teams in the field and we have no doubt that he’ll be an excellent fit with our guys.”
“I am honored to be a member of the FOX Sports team and excited to have this opportunity,” Rodriguez said. “When I’m not playing baseball, I’m either talking baseball or watching baseball, and I love watching the guys on FOX cover the biggest games in our sport.”
I actually think Rodriguez might be pretty good at this. He’s a smart baseball mind, and he can be engaging when he wants to be. In my experience, the best conversations with him are always those that get in-depth on a specific topic. I talked to him this summer about sliding head-first — not exactly his usual area of expertise — but he was great and insightful. He can be that way about the nuances of defense, or hitting a specific pitch, or strategy within the game.
He can be good at this, and obviously FOX isn’t afraid of putting controversial personalities in the mix. They’ve been using Rose as an analyst for a while now. Just have to make sure he doesn’t break stuff like he did on the FOX NFL show yesterday.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 18, 2015
Associated Press photo
What to do with Alex Rodriguez? • 10.19.15
Still looking into some of the Yankees who have uncertain roles for next season, we’ll next look at the team’s oldest player whose job might be more defined than the Yankees would like it to be. The question is how much can the Yankees get out of him going forward, and how should they prepare for his obvious limitations. In many ways he’s become the face of the franchise, for better and for worse.
This year: A sideshow from the very moment he arrived in spring training, the only predictable thing about Rodriguez’s season was the attention it received. Remarkably, A-Rod very quickly became one of the Yankees’ most productive hitters. Even more surprising, he became a fan-favorite. Limited to DH duty for most of the season, Rodriguez’s offense lagged in the second half, but he still finished with numbers on par with his 2010 season (with fewer RBI and a lot more strikeouts). Even when his numbers declined, he was still the Yankees’ biggest home run hitter of the second half.
A few possibilities for next season:
1. Ask for the exact same while hoping for more durability
Essentially, the Yankees could take the 2015 season as a road map for 2016. Assuming Rodriguez’s days an infielder are finished and pencil him back into the lineup as the everyday designated hitter. Sit him in every National League park, perhaps rest him a little more often in hopes of keeping him strong to the very end, and bank on another 30-homer season with guys like Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Aaron Judge waiting in the wings as potential injury replacements one way or another. Basically, don’t overthink it. Rodriguez is who he is at this point. He can be a helpful power hitter in the middle of the order, but he’s limited in many ways. Stick with him as an everyday designated hitter until he proves he just can’t do it anymore, then figure out a Plan B.
2. More time off (but also a little more time in the field)
The Yankees aren’t in a position to carry a full-time designated hitter, so they’ll have to put Rodriguez into some sort of rotation with Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley and perhaps Greg Bird. Rodriguez can be the regular DH, but Beltran and Teixeira are going to need DH at-bats as well. To keep the bench from becoming too short-handed, Rodriguez will have to at least occasionally give Headley a day off at third base and maybe make occasional starts at first base against lefties. The Yankees can’t have the necessary defensive flexibility while carrying a full-time — or part-time — designated hitter, and if Rodriguez can only be counted on for 130 games or so, some of those are going to have to be at the infield corners.
3. Build the roster around Rodriguez’s limitations
Have to acknowledge that there’s simply no way the Yankees are going to trade or release Rodriguez. His contract is too large and comes with too much baggage to find a willing partner on the trade market, and no owner is going to walk away from this sort of investment (especially when Rodriguez has proven he still has something left). Rodriguez is the Yankees’ problem for better and for worse. The better is that he can still hit. The worse is that he can’t do much more than that. The Yankees have to recognize that Rodriguez can’t play the field at all, and he shouldn’t DH every single game either. To have a roster spot for him, they’re going to have to find a ton of versatility elsewhere. Maybe sign a guy like Ben Zobrist, plan to have Dustin Ackley play all over, and carry a right-handed fourth outfielder who can also handle the infield corners. Maybe even bring back that idea of John Ryan Murphy getting some time at first base. Carrying a player as limited as Rodriguez means putting together a roster otherwise loaded with versatility.
Associated Press photo
Last week, when he hit his fourth home run in five days, Alex Rodriguez talked about perspective.
As a younger player, he’d never liked days off. He played all 162 games three times in his 20s, but Rodriguez’s late 30s taught him the value of rest and recuperation. Durability is no longer be taken for granted, and strength in September is no longer a given.
Four home runs in five days? Rodriguez pointed to the week before when he’d more or less taken four days off in a National League park.
“I’ve felt much better,” Rodriguez said. “One of the good things about getting old is you have some perspective. I talked about that in Atlanta, and the days off for me have been good.”
In almost every case, taking at least two days off has paid immediate dividends for Rodriguez. An extended break has been helpful for the 40-year-old, and he should get one more break this weekend when the Yankees play at Citi Field. An off day Thursday followed by three games in a National League park should leave Rodriguez with an extended break leading into the final 14 games of the season.
And those final 14 games start with three against Toronto, so this would be a fine time to continue the pattern of being productive right after a few days off.
“I think one thing is, Joe (Girardi) deserves a lot of credit,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been very disciplined. He’s rested me. I took a day off after the three homers in Minnesota, and I think that has been good. Obviously I’ll have a break against the Mets. I’m in a position now where I can find the strength.”
Here’s every example of Rodriguez being kept out of the lineup at least two days in a row this season.
April 30-May 1
Off day, at Red Sox
One pinch-hit appearance
Ten games before: .135/.319/.270
Ten games after: .286/.341/.657
This was A-Rod’s first extended break of the season. He was kept out of the lineup April 28, took an 0-for-6 April 29, April 30 was an off day, and he was back on the bench May 1. On that May 1 game, Rodriguez hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning, which would be the start of another hot streak.
Two pinch-hit appearances; one inning in the field
Ten games before: .297/.364/.730
Ten games after: .405/.452/.514
This was early in the season, at a time when it seemed the Yankees had to find a way to get Rodriguez into these National League games. He came back from the short break to have a hit in his next 11 games in a row, including five multi-hit games. Didn’t necessarily need the break, but the time off didn’t seem to hurt him.
One pinch-hit appearance
Ten games before: .205/.367/.333
Ten games after: .400/.500/.686
Had eight hits in his previous 10 games, and half of those came in one game, so his slump was perhaps a little worse than the slash line suggests. He was cheered at home in Miami, got into only one of those two games, then returned to hit a home run in three of his next seven games.
Four days off
Ten games before: .231/.333/.487
Ten games after: .282/.356/.769
Rodriguez homered in three of six games immediately before the break, so he had a little momentum going. After the break, he immediately homered in his first game back and went on to hit six home runs in his first nine second-half games. Rodriguez got his longest break of the year in the middle of July, and his slugging percentage happened to be higher that month than in any other month. Might not be coincidence.
One pinch-hit at-bat
Ten games before: .143/.234/.310
Ten games after: .167/.265/.267
Rodriguez had been playing a lot when Joe Girardi tried to refresh him with a couple of games off against the Indians. But it didn’t seem to work. A-Rod sat out a Saturday game and got a pinch-hit at-bat on Sunday, then went 0-for-10 in the next three games. But more rest was coming soon.
Two pinch-hit appearances
Ten games before: .118/.211/.294
Ten games after: .225/.262/.525
Low batting average but tremendous power numbers immediately after getting a break during the Atlanta series. Rodriguez had four home runs in his first eight games after getting some time off, and he kept hitting homers even after this 10-game window. In his first 14 games after the Atlanta series, Rodriguez hit .264/.328/.642 with six homers.
Associated Press photos
A-Rod: “Big, signature Yankee moment” • 09.15.15
From our old friend Mark Didtler, here’s the Associated Press game story from tonight’s remarkable Yankees win.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez enjoyed being overshadowed by a rookie.
Rodriguez had a tying, two-out RBI double in the ninth and Slade Heathcott followed with a three-run homer, leading the New York Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
The 24-year old Heathcott’s second career homer came on his first at-bat in the major’s since May 27. He was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.
“Just tremendous,” Rodriguez said. “You get caught up and I become a fan when you’re watching a young kid with so much talent. Big, signature Yankee moment.”
The victory moved the Yankees within three-games of AL East-leading Toronto.
“To be able to do it with two outs in the ninth, it was special,” New York manager Joe Girardi said.
Erasmo Ramirez held the Yankees hitless until Carlos Beltran led off the eighth with a hot shot that took a short-hop off first baseman Richie Shaffer and went into right field.
In the bottom half Tampa Bay snapped a scoreless tie, ending its 21-inning run drought on Logan Forsythe’s RBI double.
The Yankees, though, rallied in the ninth. Down to their last out, Brett Gardner was walked by Brad Boxberger (4-10) on four pitches and stole second. Then Rodriguez tied Craig Biggio for 21st place all-time with his 3,060th hit.
Heathcott homered after Brian McCann was intentionally walked, setting off a raucous celebration in the New York dugout, A-Rod leading the way.
“It was awesome,” Heathcott said.
Caleb Cotham (1-0) got the final out in the eighth for his first big league win before Andrew Miller pitched the ninth to pick up his 33rd save.
Ramirez allowed just the one hit, walked two and had six strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings.
“I definitely checked it (the no-hitter) out in the fifth and sixth, but I tried to stay away from that and stay focused on the next hitter and what pitch I’m going to use,” Ramirez said.
CC Sabathia had a strong start for the Yankees, giving up three hits over 6 2-3 scoreless innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second.
“You just look at our dugout, the way they reacted, it’s the biggest hit of the season,” Sabathia said of Heathcott’s blast.
New York is 3-54 when trailing after eight innings.
The Yankees had two baserunners through the seventh. Rodriguez walked with two outs in the fourth and Gardner drew another walk to start the seventh.
Gardner was doubled off second after Mikie Mahtook made a leaping catch into the right-field wall on Brian McCann’s drive.
Girardi said CF Jacoby Ellsbury, in a 1 for 29 slide, is physically fine. “He feels pretty good,” Girardi said.
Girardi said RHP Adam Warren (6-6, 3.29) will be able to throw around 65 pitches in a spot start Tuesday night.
Associated Press photos
Even after Brian Cashman said he was against it, Joe Girardi said yesterday that he was still considering the possibility of Alex Rodriguez getting a little bit of time at first base against left-handed starters.
Today, Girardi changed his tune.
“I just don’t think Alex is ready to do it,” Girardi told reporters in Boston.
Against a left-handed starter this afternoon, the Yankees are sticking with left-handed rookie Greg Bird at first base. Red Sox starter Henry Owens has reverse splits this season, so that might have factored into the decision (though Girardi tabbed Dustin Ackley, another left-handed hitter as the backup first baseman).
Aside from a month of reverse splits at the end of 2014, Bird generally put up better numbers against right-handed pitchers in the minors. His numbers against lefties weren’t awful, but he was significantly better against right-handers in both Double-A and Triple-A this season, so there’s reason for the Yankees to want at least some sort of right-handed first base option. Girardi has previously mentioned Chase Headley, Brendan Ryan and Austin Romine as possibilities, but today he’s sticking with Bird.
If the team is unwilling to let Rodriguez play first base for even a game against a lefty, it’s hard to imagine they’ll want him to play first or third during the three-game series at Citi Field later this month.
• CC Sabathia threw another bullpen this afternoon. Seems he could face hitters relatively soon. Brian Cashman has said the Yankees still see Sabathia as a starter, not a reliever, when he’s healthy enough to come off the disabled list.
• Jacoby Ellsbury is out of the lineup against a left-handed starter. It’s not unusual for one of the Yankees regular outfielders to sit against a lefty, but Ellsbury has been dealing with a hip issue, and Girardi acknowledged that there’s still some swelling. Girardi called this a healthy day off for Ellsbury, but there could be some desire to give him back-to-back days off with the scheduled off day tomorrow.
• Stephen Drew has six hits and six RBI in his past eight at-bats. With Owens having reverse splits anyway, the Yankees are sticking with Drew at second base for today’s game.
• Speaking of second base, Girardi said he’s not sure when Rob Refsnyder will play. Refsnyder was called up yesterday, but the Yankees have been using Brendan Ryan as their platoon second baseman, they’re clearly committed to Drew against right-handers, and they also have Jose Pirela as an additional right-handed second base option (plus Ackley as yet another second base option). A lot of possibilities at that position going forward.
• The Mariners announced today that they’d optioned Jesus Montero back to Triple-A. Even with expanded rosters. Ouch.
• Two days after the Yankees left Atlanta, the Braves’ box score from yesterday included some familiar names. Manny Banuelos started the game (six hits in 2.2 innings for the loss) and Danny Burawa finished it with two hitless innings and four strikeouts. Banuelos was traded to the Braves this offseason and Burawa was claimed by the Braves off waivers mid-season. Speaking of familiar names in new places: Nick Noonan, who opened this season as the everyday shortstop in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was one of the Giants’ September call-ups. He signed with San Francisco after being released by the Yankees this summer.
• The Yankees have won five consecutive series at Fenway Park since the start of 2014, going 12-5 in that span. They?last won six or more consecutive series at Fenway from September 21, 1956 to June 1, 1958. With a win today, the Yankees will have six straight series wins in Boston.
Associated Press photos
A few quick notes before today’s game gets started:
• With Mark Teixeira still hurting and the Red Sox planning to start a pair of lefties in the next three days, Joe Girardi said he will consider using Alex Rodriguez at first base for at least one of the upcoming games in Boston. Rodriguez hasn’t played the field since May 23 when he was a late-inning replacement at first base. He hasn’t started a game in the field since April.
• Not only would playing Rodriguez at first base let the Yankees avoid a left-on-left matchup for Greg Bird, it would also presumably let them start Carlos Beltran at designated hitter to keep all of the regular outfielders plus Chris Young in the lineup.
• At 13-2, Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi is tied for first in the Majors (minimum 12 decisions) with a .867 winning percentage (Drew Hutchison is also 13-2). Eovaldi is one of two pitchers who has made at least 12 starts this season and taken two losses or fewer. Among Yankees pitchers with at least 12 decisions in a season in the expansion era (since 1969), Eovaldi’s .867 winning percentage is the fourth-highest: Ron Guidry-1978 (25-3, .893); Ron Davis-1979 (14-2, .875); Roger Clemens-2001 (20-3, .870).
• Eovaldi has a career-best eight-game winning streak and 12-start unbeaten streak, going 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA (73.2IP, 24ER) in his past 12 starts since June 20. That’s the longest winning streak by a Yankee this season and the longest single-season winning streak by a Yankee since Ivan Nova won 12 straight decisions in 2011. Opponents are hitting .235 during Eovaldi’s 12-start unbeaten streak (they hit .329 in his first 13 starts).
• Dustin Ackley is making his fourth minor league rehab appearance today. Interestingly, he’s starting at second base, a position he’s hardly played this year (the Yankees have said they see him primarily as an outfielder for the time being). Last night, Ackley went 1-for-2 with a home run (his first minor league homer since June 6, 2013). On his rehab assignment, Ackley has gone 4-for-10, with a double, a home run, three runs and a stolen base.
• The fan who fell to his death during last night’s game has been identified. His family says Gregory Murrey had been sitting in the upper deck for Braves games for 23 years.
• Sounds like there’s a solid chance today’s game will start on time despite rain all around Atlanta.
Associated Press photo
Here’s video of Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances on the TODAY Show this morning to surprise tonight’s HOPE Week honoree Chris Singleton. The introduction of Singleton is pretty emotion. Impressive kid.
TORONTO (AP) — The New York Yankees will honor Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit with a pregame ceremony before hosting the Blue Jays on Sept. 13.
Rodriguez homered off Detroit’s Justin Verlander on June 19, becoming the 29th player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.
Rodriguez said he was “in disbelief” upon learning of the planned celebration.
Manager Joe Girardi said he was pleased to see the Yankees pay tribute to A-Rod’s achievement.
“All relationships are going to have rocky moments and you like to see things get righted and repaired,” Girardi said before Friday night’s game in Toronto. “I think both sides have made a lot of gestures to do that.”
Rodriguez missed all of last season while serving a drug suspension. Last month, Rodriguez and the Yankees settled a dispute over a marketing payment with a deal that gave $3.5 million to charitable groups. Rodriguez began Friday batting .264 with 24 homers and 63 RBIs in a resurgent season.
Associated Press photo
In almost any other setting, the question might have been too cliché to generate much of an answer. But on his 40th birthday, in the year after his season-long suspension, in the middle of a remarkable career resurgence, Alex Rodriguez seemed genuinely taken aback by the very notion.
What advice would 40-year-old A-Rod give to himself at 20 years old? At 30 years old? Rodriguez paused, then smiled.
“I’m in no position to give anyone advice, including myself,” he said, with a laugh. “But I think there was a point in time for me when hitting home runs, being a great baseball player, was all that mattered. I figured that if I hit more home runs, it would justify for whatever behavior I had off the field.
“I realize today that it’s not that way at all. Hitting home runs doesn’t make you a good father, it doesn’t make you a good friend, and it certainly doesn’t make you a good teammate. To me they’re both important.”
Rodriguez turned 40 today, and there he is, back in the No. 3 spot in the Yankees lineup. He’ healthy, playing his usual designated hitter role, and he’s leading the team in OPS. Only four players in the entire American League have a higher OPS. Only six have more home runs.
“Forty is forty,” manager Joe Giradri said. “But it’s still just a number. You can still be extremely productive at that age and he’s showing it. … It’s rare, but guys can still do it.”
For Rodriguez, though, the birthday is a different sort of milestone. It’s notable not only because of how good he was a 20 years old, or for all he’d accomplished at 30, but because of where he was on the day he turned 39 while serving a season-long suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think someone asked me about 40 and evaluating where I am, and I think I did a lot of that last year,” Rodriguez said. “I had a lot of time to think and evaluate. It was a dark time, that’s for sure. To be able to come back this year and look back, hopefully I’m going to be a player, but more importantly, a better person, for the next 40 years.”
Rodriguez noted that not many baseball players talk about turning 40 because so few last beyond their mid-30s. Did it feel more significant turning 40 or turning 30?
“Forty feels bigger just because of all the things that have transpired and where I am today,” Rodriguez said.
Where he is today is among the most productive and consistent hitters in baseball. He’s stayed healthy so far, and Girardi has tried to keep it that way by rarely playing him in the field. Perhaps most surprisingly, he’s been cheered at home and seemingly accepted by opponents and some fans on the road.
“I’m going to continue to work hard,” he said. “I thought April would be my most challenging month and as I started getting more repetition, hopefully I would get better. I think that’s happened, and I hope that continues. I’m going to continue to work out and go through my regimen, but it’s also a nice reminder that if you play clean and you play hard, that good things can happen.”
• Still no announced starter for tomorrow. Girardi said it depends on who the Yankees have to use tonight. They prefer to have either Chris Capuano or Adam Warren start tomorrow’s game — with the other basically piggybacking — but that plan will only work if those two aren’t needed tonight. “We’ll try to get three or four innings out of (one of them), use another guy and go from there,” Girardi said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
• The original plan was to use Bryan Mitchell to start tomorrow’s game, but Mitchell’s schedule was thrown off last week when he was doing band work. The band was attached to a door (pretty common), and the door opened. Mitchell fell, hit his head, and had to sit out a few days. That threw him off turn for tomorrow’s game. “He’s off track now,” Girardi said. “We’ll keep building him up. He’s a guy we’ll definitely look at the next time.”
• Worth noting that Diego Moreno is tomorrow’s scheduled Triple-A starter, so if the Yankees need someone who can give several innings, they could recall Moreno as either a fresh long man or as an emergency starter.
• Jacoby Ellsbury banged his shoulder into the wall making a catcher yesterday, so Girardi decided to keep Ellsbury out of the lineup tonight. The plan was to sit either Ellsbury or Carlos Beltran tonight, and Girardi decided to give Ellsbury the rest. “I think that’s pretty much the plan for everybody to get one (day off) at some point on this road series,” Ellsbury said. “So they decided to give it to me today.”
• Ellsbury said he feels like he could play tonight, and he’ll be ready to run or play defense late in the game. He fully expects to be in the lineup tomorrow. He got some ice on the shoulder last night, but he said he didn’t do anything particularly out of the ordinary today. He can play if the Yankees need him.
• Girardi on Ellsbury: “If I have to use him, I would use him. He ran into the wall pretty hard. I was going to give him or Carlos one of the next two days off. I decided to do Jake today. We’ll go look at tomorrow. You’d like to be able to win the game without using him but if we need him, we’ll use him.”
• It’s really, really hot down here. “Stevie (Donohue) talks (to the players) about the importance of hydration,” Girardi said. “And we continue to do that. It’s hot, but it’s hot for both teams and you’ve got to deal with it.”
Associated Press photos
A few quick notes heading into this afternoon’s series finale in Minnesota:
• Biggest news of the early afternoon has been Ken Rosenthal’s report that the Royals are trading for Johnny Cueto. News of the swap began to leak apparently before the Reds had even told Cueto that a deal was in place. The Yankees trading for Cueto never seemed particularly likely given their reluctance to trade one of their high-end, on-the-verge prospects.
• As for the Yankees, they have Alex Rodriguez on the bench for a day game after a night game. Of course, that night game happened to be a three-homer event for A-Rod. Rodriguez said he feels fine, just getting a day to rest. Days off for a DH seem to bother plenty of folks in the fan base — as does the unwillingness to use Rodriguez in the field from time to time — but at the end of July, Rodriguez has been consistently productive and incredibly healthy. If that’s because of the way Joe Girardi has used him, then it’s hard to argue with the approach.
• Right fielder Aaron Judge has returned to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lineup after missing basically a week with what seems to have been a minor injury. Could be nothing more than the Yankees being their usual, overly cautious selves. Even without providing details, Brian Cashman insisted several times that there was no serious issue.
• Speaking of Triple-A, Andrew Marchand reports that Bryan Mitchell was supposed to be lined up to start Tuesday’s game in Texas, but a mild injury altered his turn in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation. Mitchell was sent down rather suddenly to start last Saturday, which would have put him perfectly on turn to be on schedule and eligible to return on Tuesday, but he wound up not making his next start until yesterday (when he pitched pretty well). Now it seems either Adam Warren or Chris Capuano will probably make that spot start on Tuesday.
• Scranton/Wilkes-Barre activated Austin Romine from the disabled list today. Going to be interesting to see how they use Romine now that Gary Sanchez is on the roster. It’s not like they have a ton of DH at-bats to give away. Those have been going mostly to Kyle Roller now that Greg Bird is on the roster, and the outfield is also suddenly overcrowded with Judge, Ben Gamel, Ramon Flores and Tyler Austin. There don’t seem to be enough at-bats for everyone who needs regular playing time to actually get regular playing time.
Associated Press photo