The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

A-Rod talks a little bit, says almost nothing (which is a good thing)01.16.15

Alex Rodriguez

Writing this morning about some things to expect in the next five weeks, I made a relatively vague mention of the “inevitable Alex Rodriguez speculation.” Turns out, that’s already started.

Last night, the New York Post released a story with a few A-Rod quotes. He said basically nothing, and that’s probably a good thing. Laying low seems to be Rodriguez’s best move at this point. He’ll surely have to address his situation with a spring training press conference — without that, he’ll simply have reporters gathering around his locker every single day — but the less he says right now, the better.

Answer a bunch of questions in some official capacity, then let the results speak for themselves (for better and for worse).

“I’m feeling really, really good,” Rodriguez told Kevin Kernan. “I’ve been working hard, doing a lot of plyometrics, and I am so excited for spring training and to be back with my teammates.”

How Rodriguez will be embraced remains a mystery. Fans on the road will be brutal, but that’s always the case. Fans at home will probably be brutal unless he’s productive, in which case I imagine he’ll be cheered by most at Yankee Stadium. Joe Girardi’s always worked well with Rodriguez, new hitting coach Jeff Pentland seemed to be laying groundwork for a sound relationship when he said yesterday that he has a lot of respect for Rodriguez, and the longtime Yankees players seem to have always gotten along with him (guys like Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia, for example, seem to have no day-to-day trouble with Rodriguez). No telling how the newer guys will respond, but even the veteran guys who have disliked him in the past — and I can think of a few specific examples — never really made it a public issue.

For now, Rodriguez is working out. We all knew he would do that. He’s preparing to play the field. Again, not surprising. The Yankees say they’re committed to having him back on the roster. There are few alternatives, really.

It’s going to be a while before we have any idea whether he can actually help.

Associated Press photo

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With five weeks to go, what are we waiting for?01.16.15

Yankees Spring Baseball

We’ve made it to the middle of January, which means the bulk of our offseason news is probably behind us.

The Yankees have already traded for a shortstop and a new starting pitcher. They’ve signed a third baseman and a new reliever. They’ve restructured their bullpen, reworked their infield, and remodeled their bench. They’ve left every indication that they want to keep their remaining prospects and stay away from any more huge contracts (at least for the rest of this winter).

So if the bulk of the heavy lifting is finished, what are we waiting for in these last five weeks before spring training? Here are a few things:

1. The Stephen Drew announcement
We know this one is coming, but at this point, Drew is still not officially on the roster. How Drew impacts the final roster is a question for another day — one we can speculate about but not really answer until late March — so for now, we’re just waiting for him to officially arrive. And with his arrival, we’ll find out who’s coming off the roster.

2. Final arbitration-eligible settlements
Kind of like the Drew signing, this is largely a formality. The Yankees very, very rarely actually go to arbitration, so there’s no real reason to think the won’t eventually settle on fresh contracts for their three remaining arb-eligible players. We already have a pretty good idea how much money David Carpenter, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda will make this season, it’s just a matter of getting the contracts finished.

3. Non-roster invitations
A few minor league signings have already been reported, so we know guys like Nick Noonan and Slade Heathcott will be non-roster players in spring training. But it’s always interesting to see the final list of minor league guys who get to spend at least a few weeks with the big leaguers. Surely guys like Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Luis Severino will be there. What about a guy like Cito Culver? Despite the outfield depth, hasn’t Taylor Dugas done enough to get an invitation?

4. Max Scherzer and James Shields closure
They’ll either sign with the Yankees or they won’t, and right now the expectation is that the Yankees will not spend big money in either one. But until both Scherzer and Shields are off the market, the Yankees will be occasionally linked to them. It’s simply too difficult to completely dismiss the possibility of a surprise investment. Doesn’t seem likely, but doesn’t seem impossible.

5. Additional pitching depth
Scherzer and Shields might be out of the Yankees price range, and the desire to keep the system’s top prospects might keep the Yankees from making a trade for a guy like Cole Hamels, but there’s an obvious level of concern with the current rotation. Isn’t it entirely possible the Yankees might eventually add some veteran starter on either a tiny major league deal or a non-roster minor league contract? Could a veteran closer jump into the picture if his price falls far enough? If you’re looking for another addition, pitching depth might be the thing to monitor.

6. Inevitable Alex Rodriguez speculation
Based on his recent Instagram posts, we know Rodriguez has started batting practice and fielding drills. Isn’t it inevitable that we’ll start to hear rumblings about the way he looks in these early baseball drills? Maybe it’ll be some source within the organization, or maybe someone who’s close to A-Rod himself. At some point between now and spring training, though, it seems inevitable that we’ll hear something about Rodriguez, either good or bad.

7. Early arrivals at the minor league complex
Pitchers and catchers officially report on February 20, but some guys always show up early. Usually those early arrivals don’t mean a ton — Brett Gardner is taking early swings! — but given all of the guys coming back from injuries this season, those early arrivals might carry a little more weight this year. If Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia or Carlos Beltran shows up early, there will be some interesting questions and answers.

8. Yoan Moncada developments
Even if the Yankees aren’t willing to spend the money necessary to sign Scherzer or Shields, they could still make a huge investment between now and spring training. If Cuban teenager Moncada becomes a fully available free agent, the Yankees could land one of the top young players on the planet, giving themselves a new high-end prospect with the potential to significantly impact this team within a few years.

Associated Press photos

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Pentland odds and ends: A-Rod, Gregorius and being a pitcher01.15.15

Some odds and ends from today’s Jeff Pentland conference call:

Alex RodriguezOn Alex Rodriguez
“I’ve seen Alex for a long time. I saw him in his first professional games in the instructional league. He’s been a tremendous talent over the years. I’m looking forward to being around him and being with him. Him and I have talked over the years, just hi and hello kind of conversations, but I have a great deal of respect for his career and what he’s done, so, you know, I have a great deal of respect for him. I hope he has a successful season and I’ll be there for him.”

On Carlos Beltran
“I had Carlos when he was a little younger (in Kansas City), but him and I had a great rapport and I’m sure that will continue. He was a tremendous athlete. Obviously he’s not 25 anymore, but there’s plenty left in him, and his experience and his knowledge of hitting, he’s been in New York before. We just got to keep him healthy.”

On Mark Teixeira
“You’ve got to remember, I’m not a young guy, so I’ve seen most of these guys probably. Mark Teixeira was certainly a plus player in Texas, and he has been with the Yankees. I think you said it best; if we can keep him injury-free, and he needs any adjustments, we’ll be there for him. I’ve talked to him briefly when he was with the Rangers, kind of like a ‘hello, how are you’ kind of deal. I’m looking forward to spending time with him and being around him. I have an open mind. Whatever happened in the past means nothing to me. We’ll start anew, and from what I understand, he’s had some wrist injuries. Injury is part of this game. Hopefully we can keep him healthy.”

On Didi Gregorius
“I saw Didi a lot when I was with the Dodgers. I was there when they brought him up, and he started out very well, but just like most young hitters, they figure him out eventually. He’s an incredibly athletic player, he’s got a huge future, and I’m very excited that he’s a Yankee. I always thought there’s a lot (of ability) in there. We’ve got to get it out, and we’ve got to work it, but the problem with younger players, you’ve got to be a little bit more patient. I think this guy has a big upside.”

On assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell
“Obviously hitting coaches have their own circle; we’re kind of like a fraternity. And we have spoken more than a few times. I don’t there will be any problems among the two of us, it’s just our ability to deal with the players. … The job has just gotten huge. The technical ability of video and TVs and statistics, it’s just become overwhelming. As hitting coaches, we have to weed out information to give the hitters a simple approach. When you’re sitting in there against 95 (mph), your brain can’t do a whole lot. It kind of has to be focused on the ball. Walks and staying in the strike zone and the information on pitchers, it’s not so much mechanical or technical side of it from a hitting standpoint, it’s gathering all the information, putting together good plans and good information, (to build) a simplistic, easy plan for a hitter to understand and go up there with somewhat of an empty mind. Most of your great athletes, they don’t think a lot. They have the information in the back of their mind, but they’re basically on the attack.”

On having been a pitcher for part of his playing career
“I’ve been asked that question all my life. I was very good at pitching, I just hated it. The days that I played, there wasn’t a lot of money in, so we basically did what we wanted, and I loved to hit. Hitting was a little bit harder for me, and if you look at me, I’m not a gigantic guy, and I’m left-handed so I was very limited in the positions I could play. But I was born with a good arm. … Most of the communication and talk I have is with pitchers because I have to know pitchers to attack them, and pitchers have to know hitters to get them out. I have been with Larry (Rothschild) before, and Larry is as good as it gets, so we talk a lot. It might be about opposing hitters, or it might be about opposing pitchers. We have always had a great relationship, but there’s a bond there just because of what our jobs are.”

Associated Press photo

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Week in review: The unexpected return of Stephen Drew01.11.15

Stephen Drew

Just when you thought the Yankees had moved on from Stephen Drew, they’ve decided to bring him back.

This week, the Yankees and Drew agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million plus some incentives based on plate appearances. For now, it seems Drew slides in as the team’s regular second baseman with the flexibility to add depth at shortstop and perhaps third base if necessary.

Really, though, it seems we’re going to have to wait until spring training to see how exactly Drew impacts the 25-man roster. His contract is not so substantial that the Yankees absolutely have to stick with him no matter what happens elsewhere. If Rob Refsnyder, for example, looks like a stronger option at second, the Yankees could get creative to find a way to make that happen.

Ultimately, Drew is a veteran option at a position where the Yankees had no one with substantial big league experience. He hits left-handed and has typically been a much better hitter than what last year’s numbers suggest. This could be a strong buy-low situation, or it could be a $5 million mistake that ends with a mid-season release much like Brian Roberts a year ago.

For now, though, Drew is coming to spring training to give the Yankees another option in an infield that has changed almost completely in the past few months.

JOhnson• Short-time Yankees starter Randy Johnson was among four players elected to the Hall of Fame this week. He joined Craig Biggio, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez.

• Yankees pitching prospect Ty Hensley was hospitalized with multiple facial injuries after a fight at a friend’s house in Oklahoma. A former college linebacker has been charged with assault, and each side claims the other started the whole thing. Hensley suffered a broken jaw but seems optimistic that this will not derail his career. Just a sad situation all around.

• Speaking of prospects, the Yankees have re-signed their own prospect by agreeing to a new minor league deal with Slade Heathcott. Released earlier this offseason to open a 40-man spot, Heathcott has always been a high-potential center fielder, but his progress has been slowed by a series of injuries. He and Jose Campos were both released at the non-tender deadline, and both have since been re-signed.

• Whatever you want to make of it, Alex Rodriguez posted a picture to his Instagram account showing him going through third base fielding drills as a high school in Miami. Seems little surprise that Rodriguez wants to at least get ready to play some third base. I’m sure he’d like to prove he can handle the position better than Chase Headley, even if the Yankees are clearly doubtful.

• Speaking of DH options, Jerry Crasnick reported that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard left the Yankees off his no-trade list. In theory, that opens the possibility of trading for Howard in a bad-contract swap, but the Howard contract might actually be worse than anything on the Yankees roster (aside from maybe Rodriguez, who seems perfectly unmovable under any circumstances).

• Coaches were named for Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Most notable seems to be the promotion of hitting coach Marcus Thames to Triple-A, and the promotion of P.J. Pilittere to Double-A. Those two seem to be among the organizational favorites, and both could be rising toward big league roles in the future. Manager Dave Miley and pitching coach Scott Aldred are returning to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, while Al Pedrique is replacing Tony Franklin as the manager in Trenton.

• The leagues in Venezuela, Mexico and the Dominican Republic have entered their postseason, which means several young Yankees have wrapped up their winter league regular seasons. Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Jose Pirela and Ali Castillo stand out as Yankees who played particularly well this offseason.

• Speaking of winter ball, it’s worth noting and remembering that Esmil Rogers has been working as a starting pitcher in the Dominican Republic this winter. Could be stretched out as rotation insurance in spring training.

Associated Press photos

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Instagram shows A-Rod taking grounders at third base01.07.15

RodriguezThe Yankees have made it clear that Chase Headley is their third baseman for next season, but Alex Rodriguez seems to be preparing at the position just the same.

In the past five days, Rodriguez has posted two Instagram pictures of his offseason workouts. The first was a side-by-side shot of Rodriguez swinging in a batting cage, and the most recent wass a shot of Rodriguez going through third base fielding drills at a Miami high school.

No real controversy here as far as I can tell. This isn’t a particularly unusual time for a player to get into offseason fielding and hitting drills, and I’m sure the Yankees want Rodriguez to at least try to play a little third base and first base to add some roster flexibility. The position belongs to Headley, but it certainly won’t hurt to have Rodriguez capable of playing the field occasionally.

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Day 3 Yankees notes: A-Rod, relievers, infielders, Rule 512.10.14

Alex Rodriguez

Yankees strength coach Matt Krause was in Miami today to get an updated evaluation of Alex Rodriguez.

“He talked to (Rodriguez) maybe a month ago, maybe longer,” Cashman said. “And then he assessed him now. He’s working hard. Obviously he’s continuing to get ready for spring training, and he’s moving in the right direction.”

This was strictly a physical fitness evaluation, not an evaluation of baseball skills or performance.

“I know he’s weighing him in and stuff like that,” Cashman said. “Like all our players, he’s got a report weight that we’re hopeful they hit. He’s approaching that. He’s not at the spring training weight that we desire just yet, but there is progress, and he continues to tweak. Matt continues to tweak his conditioning program. They’re building a relationship. They don’t know each other, so that’s good (that they’re spending time together). This is not just Matt checking on Alex. He’s seeing McCann, Gardner, Ellsbury, all our guys. He’s going across meeting up with everybody.”

Chase HeadleyA few other notes from today’s Cashman media session:

Winter Meeting progress
Without getting into specifics, Cashman said he remains engaged with a bunch of trade and free agent possibilities. He’s been talking to Chase Headley, but wouldn’t say whether there’s been progress between the two sides. Cashman did say the pitching market is “going to go fast,” and the Yankees are obviously engaged with various starters and relievers.

“I honestly can tell you that we’re patient,” Cashman said. “We’re not going to do something that we don’t feel comfortable with.”

For whatever it’s worth, Cashman said he’s not planning to meet with the media before he flies back to New York tomorrow, and he said that’s because he’s not expecting the Yankees situation to change between now and then. But you really never know. The Yankees are clearly in serious talks with a wide range of possibilities, it’s just unclear whether any of those talks are going to lead to something in the next 18 hours or so.

Potential bullpen additions
Cashman wouldn’t comment on a report that he’s shown interest in former Giants closer Sergio Romo, but he made it clear that he’s still open to adding another piece to the bullpen.

“If it’s the right guy, I have no problem signing a (reliever) to a major league deal,” Cashman said. “If it’s the right guy; if it fits with everything else we’re also trying to accomplish. We also have a lot of good young arms. It’s just, we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out. We have trade opportunities, so it can come in a lot of different ways whether it’s from within, whether it’s non-roster invite, major league signing from the free agent market, or trade. It’s tough to say right now.”

Today’s infielder trades
The Dodgers traded second baseman Dee Gordon earlier today, and the Phillies are said to be finalizing a Jimmy Rollins trade. Cashman acknowledged that he checked on the availability of both players. He asked about Rollins early in the offseason and was told only that the asking price would be higher than the Yankees would be willing to pay. No names were discussed, the Phillies just made it clear they would need a ton in return (might have been a kind way of telling the Yankees that Rollins wouldn’t waive his no-trade to play in New York).

As for Gordon, that conversation happened this week. “I just said, ‘If you see any fits, let me know,’” Cashman said. “They were down the tracks with (the actual trade to Miami). This was yesterday or two days ago when his name surfaced as a potential move.”

Tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft
Sounds like the Yankees won’t take anyone in tomorrow’s draft. They have three spots open on the 40-man, but Cashman clearly plans to add at least three more players this offseason.

“As of right now, I don’t think I’ll be active in the Rule 5 draft,” Cashman said. “But I know our guys want to talk to me about some things. The certain amount of roster spots that we have, and we have a certain amount of needs still to fill, so I think those roster spots can go quickly because of our needs. I’m not sure that Rule 5 is going to make sense for us this year because of that.”

Reaction to Boras
Earlier today, Scott Boras said that Max Scherzer would give the Yankees a World Series caliber rotation. Cashman laughed when he heard the quote.

“Good,” he said. “That means he likes the four we’ve got.”

Associated Press photos

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Girardi keeping an eye on A-Rod this winter12.10.14

Alex Rodriguez

Joe Girardi has been watching video of the Yankees greatest mystery heading into next season, but even Girardi’s still not sure what to expect from Alex Rodriguez.

“We text, we email, we talk on the phone,” Girardi said. “We do different things, see videos. It’s been good. I know he’s working extremely hard. And that’s going to be a hot button in spring training, and we’ve just got to go through spring training and see where he’s at. He hasn’t played a lot in two years.”

Girardi said Rodriguez has been hitting, running and lifting — “a little bit of everything,” Girardi said — but it’s still to early to have a sense of how much he’s capable of doing next season. The Yankees are preparing for him to be a designated hitter, but they haven’t ruled out some time at third base and maybe a few reps at first base. Girardi said he doesn’t expect Rodriguez to work on first base this winter. If he’s going to get any time at the position, it will happen during spring training.

“I said, we’ll talk about it in spring training, because let’s see the makeup of our club,” Girardi said. “If we have another first baseman, if I want to give Tex a day off, then we can put the other one in there. If we don’t, we could possibly move (Rodriguez) over there. I’ll see if he’s comfortable, and go from there.”

It’s all about seeing at this point. Rodriguez’s workout videos seem to be an effort from Girardi to stay engaged, not necessarily an effort to fully evaluate. Brian Cashman said he hasn’t spoken to Rodriguez very much this offseason, and even if they were in constant communication, it might not make a difference.

“We’re never going to know until we get him out there playing in games and stuff, what we’ve got,” Cashman said. “Even in fairness to him, as he’s knocking the rust off, like whether you’re playing every year or not, it’s hard to judge people in spring training regardless. It probably is something you have to get in-season to, in the early portion.”

Associated Press photo

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Notes from Day 2: Coaching staff on the back burner12.09.14

Joe Girardi

General manager Brian Cashman said he’s not particularly close to finding a new hitting coach, and that process might have to wait a few days to get rolling again.

“I’ve got that on the back burner,” Cashman said. “There’s too much going on right now with the trade and free agent market to get distracted.”

Cashman also denied a report that Marcus Thames will be the team’s assistant hitting coach next season.

“That’s false,” Cashman said. “I have not talked to Marcus Thames at all, actually. … I’m looking for a head guy first, and then I can consider if I want to play with an assistant or not. I saw there was a report out there that we hired an assistant or were planning on hiring an assistant. We’ve got to go with the head guy first and then talk about if we even want to have an assistant to the head guy. But we don’t have a head guy.”

Joe Girardi said the same thing about the coaching search being put on the back burner for now, then he was asked about the possibility of bringing in Hideki Matsui as a coach.

“We love having him around, wherever it’s at,” Girardi said. “Whether it’s in the course of the season, whether he’s walking in our clubhouse and being around the guys, whether it’s in Spring Training. He’s a real pro. And he has a lot of information that he can pass on to younger players, to older players, about how to play the game and how to approach an at bat, how you hit through a long season. Matsui was one of the favorites in the clubhouse, as well. And we love just having him around. He brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

Not exactly an endorsement. Not exactly a dismissal.

A few other notes from this second day of the Winter Meetings:

Dellin Betances• Although there’s no clear closer now, Girardi said he will not plan to have a closer by committee next season. “I think it’s important they have an idea how they’re going to be used,” Girardi said. “But sometimes it takes time to develop that. When we started out this season Betances was pitching the fifth and sixth inning. In the end he was pitching sometimes the sixth, seventh inning. So that takes time to get ironed out.”

• Girardi has not talked to Didi Gregorius, but he has a message planned. “I think the most important thing for Didi, and I’ll stress it, and I’ll have all the coaches stress it and the people around him, you just need to be yourself,” Girardi said. “You don’t need to try to be Derek. I think Robertson did a really good job of filling in for a superstar, a legend, a Yankee legend and was just himself. And we need to pay attention to that and make sure that Didi (knows): hey, go out and play, just do what you do.”

• Biggest remaining need? “When I look at our club, I think you have to think about the depth of the rotation,” Girardi said. “And as I said, we’re going to get Nova back, which is going to help. But in the back of your mind there’s some question marks. Michael Pineda has not thrown 200 innings in a while. CC is coming off his injury. Yeah, we feel good about it, but until you get into the rigors of the season you’re not really sure exactly what’s going to happen. And Tanaka is coming off an injury, and we feel good about that. But like I said about CC, you have to go through it. You need depth in your rotation. You have to. I don’t know how many starters we used last year, but I know we lost four. So we used a lot and that’s something that’s a concern.”

• Girardi said he’s spoken to Chase Headley this winter, but he has not spoken to Brandon McCarthy.

• Cashman said he has not heard from Hiroki Kuroda or Kuroda’s agent, so the Yankees still don’t know whether Kuroda plans to pitch or retire next season.

• Girardi has seen videos of Alex Rodriguez’s offseason workouts, but Cashman said he hasn’t had any recent communication with A-Rod. “We’re never going to know until we get him out there playing in games and stuff, what we’ve got,” Cashman said. “Even in fairness to him, as he’s knocking the rust off, like whether you’re playing every year or not it’s hard to judge people in Spring Training regardless. It probably is something you have to get in-season to in the early portion.”

• The Yankees checked in on the possibility of trading for Jeff Samardzija. “There wasn’t a match from their perspective,” Cashman said.

Associated Press photo

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Girardi walks a fine line in managing A-Rod11.11.14

Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez

Later today, the BBWAA will announce its choices for Manager of the Year, and we already know Joe Girardi will not finish in the top three. I had a Manager of the Year vote this year, and Girardi did not appear on my three-person ballot. That’s not to say I thought he did a bad job — I actually thought Girardi had a pretty good year — but it’s hard to vote for a manager whose team largely underperformed, even if the manager himself might be not at fault.

I bring it up only because this morning I was reminded of one thing Girardi does pretty well: He handles the Alex Rodriguez situation.

Whatever the Alex Rodriguez situation of the moment might be — fighting with the front office, suspended for performance enhancing drugs, thoroughly unable to hit — Girardi stays on A-Rod’s side without necessarily condoning his actions.

“We live in a forgiving world in the sports world,” Girardi said. “His job and his main concern has to be just getting prepared to play and doing his job. That’s what he needs to do.”

That’s the only thing Girardi can say at this point. He’s neither judge nor jury. He’s not a lawyer. He doesn’t determine Rodriguez’s salary, decide whether his contract is void, or have any say in whether Rodriguez is suspended or active. Girardi’s the manager, and so he manages. And when it’s come to arguably his most difficult player, Girardi’s managed pretty well.

These are the past three years of the Girardi/A-Rod relationship:

Alex Rodriguez2012: Rodriguez’s bat went stone cold down the stretch, which prompted Girardi in the postseason to replace him with late-inning pinch hitters or bench him against right-handed starters. Rodriguez never outwardly complained. In fact, he seemed to genuinely respect the decision. “I’m Joe’s biggest fan,” Rodriguez said that October. “Joe has always respected me the utmost, and I’ve given it right back to him.”

2013: Rodriguez returned from a hip injury only to be suspended, appeal the decision, and engage in an uncomfortable war of words with the Yankees front office. Brian Cashman acknowledged it was awkward for him to have a conversation with his third baseman, but Girardi said, “I haven’t seen our relationship change.” Girardi kept the relationship all about baseball, and in the middle of all the organizational tension, when Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster threw at Rodriguez during a game in Boston, Girardi went berserk. “You just can’t throw a baseball at someone because of your feelings toward them,” Girardi said. “I don’t care what the hitter has done or allegedly done. I will defend that person until I’m blue in the face.”

2014: Rodriguez was suspended for a full season. His name was rarely mentioned during the season, and he was still mostly out of sight and out of mind until this month when new reports opened fresh dialogue about his misdeeds. Some of it seemed custom made for reality television or dark episodes of Scandal: drug deals, cover ups, accusations of urinating on the floor. Even though he’s clearly knows about all of it, Girardi moves on as if he’s ignored it.

“My job is to get him ready to play baseball and to make sure he’s in that right frame of mind,” Girardi said this morning. “I’ll watch him carefully, and we’ll talk. We have open lines of communication, and like I said, I’ll see where he’s at. I won’t make it public, but I’ll see where he’s at.”

Everything about Rodriguez’s off-the-field noise seems to go against Girardi’s very core as a person. There are awkward conversations to have with his children. There are awkward questions to answer with the press. There are awkward messages to send to the public. But Girardi handles it as well as could be expected. He supports Rodriguez as a player and shows genuine concern for him as a person, but Girardi leaves no doubt that he disagrees with Rodriguez’s many poor decisions as a liar and a cheat.

Girardi moves on because he has little choice but to move on.

“When Alex has walked into spring training, when hasn’t there been a lot of attention on him in the last five years?” Girardi said. “Yeah, there’s going to be attention, some of it is going to be negative, some of it will be positive. We’ll deal with it. … My job is worrying about preparing him to play, and making sure that he’s prepared and how he’s doing physically every day.”

Associated Press photos

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Yuri Sucart: “The situation we are in right now, it doesn’t make sense”11.06.14

RodriguezIn the interest of providing another part of the story, here’s one more link to another article about Alex Rodriguez and his relationship with Yuri Sucart.

This one comes from Newsday, and while it’s not as scandalous as the Daily News report — there’s no mention of urination in this one — it does include more angry comments from Carmen Sucart, Yuri’s wife, who says A-Rod’s cousin is dying and has to defend himself publicly. Yuri was interviewed, but he apparently refused to answer questions specifically about Rodriguez.

“The situation we are in right now,” Yuri said, “it doesn’t make sense.”

In a lot of ways, that’s hard to argue. I suppose we always have to keep in mind the motivation behind any statement that comes out of a situation like this, but what’s clear is that the Sucarts are upset and feel abandoned at best. At worst, they feel under attack.

“The reason I decided to come out is, it’s time already,” Carmen Sucart said. “We had to cleanse our soul.”

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