Some evening potpourri • 03.10.10
• I’ve never quite understood the whole “sign a one-day contract and then retire” thing but that’s what Nomar Garciaparra did today and, according to Johnny Damon, it was a “classy move” by both the Red Sox and Garciaparra. Apparently the wounds from 2004 have healed and, now that he’s retired, we’ll all be seeing Nomar again on ESPN.
When some of us asked Damon which team he would do such a thing with when it came time to retire, he went quiet for a second, then shrugged and said, “I guess my longest tenure is with the Royals – and I haven’t played there in 10 years!”
Amazingly, he’s right – six years in KC, two in Oakland, four in Boston and now four in New York for the well-traveled Johnny.
• Torii Hunter is one of my favorite players – both to watch play and interview – and his overall point about African-American players in baseball is a reasonable one to bring up. It just didn’t come out particularly well, as you can see in this story, and even Hunter knows it.
• Joe Torre is off in Taiwan with part of the Dodgers team so Don Mattingly is the interim manager in Arizona. In an interview this afternoon, Donnie Baseball revealed that the Dodgers have talked with him about eventually becoming Torre’s replacement. Remember when the Yankees were choosing between Mattingly and Joe Girardi? Seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it?
• Unfortunate situation involving the Rays pitcher David Price today. Seems he was hit on the hand by a shattered maple bat, though he was lucky and will escape needing stitches. “It was more of a scare than anything else,” Price said, according to The AP. “I don’t really remember what happened, to be honest. Tried to make a play on the ball and I guess out of the corner of my eye I saw the bat and just threw my hands up. Could have been a lot worse than what it is right now.”
Joe Maddon said what a lot of people around the game are thinking, likening the maple bat to the Claymore Mine, which was an explosive in use since World War II. Maple bats have shown an incredible propensity toward shattering, and their shards are very, very dangerous. “If we’re going to wait for someone to actually get killed or impaled,” Maddon said, “we’re going to wait way too long. Something has to be done.”
• Finally, Major League Baseball announced PED suspensions for several minor leaguers, including two from the Yankees Dominican Summer League team. Josue Rodriguez and Israel Tolentino will both serve 50-game bans for testing positive.
That’s it for tonight. Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on a long day. Back at it tomorrow, though the clubhouse won’t open until around 1:30 p.m. because it’s a night game. Check in early and often, though, for a few other items before we get to Yankees-Braves.
A-Rod: Lawyers working to schedule meeting • 03.10.10
Alex Rodriguez offered an update on his situation this morning, saying that his lawyers have begun working with federal investigators to schedule a time for A-Rod to be interviewed about his involvement with tainted Canadian doctor Anthony Galea. “They’re working to schedule something that allows me to cooperate, and get my work in,” A-Rod said.
Rodriguez’s preference is for the interview to take place in Tampa – other interviews with players have been conducted near spring training sites – and the Yankees do have an off-day coming up on Monday, so that could be an easy answer. A-Rod said he anticipated hearing from his attorneys sooner than later and is looking forward to getting the matter behind him. “I think the key thing to remember about this is that it’s an investigation about someone else,” he said. He added, “I don’t really focus on that. I’m really focused on our team and on Boston Opening Day.”
In non-PED news, Rodriguez said his hip is feeling good and that he’s been careful not to overdo it this spring. He’ll have to see surgeon Marc Philippon for a follow-up and likely “take some pictures” of the hip at some point in the future, but doesn’t think that will have to happen until the All-Star break or some time when the Yankees are out west.
A lingering concern • 03.08.10
Earlier today we learned that the controversial Canadian doctor Anthony Galea told The AP that he did, in fact, treat Alex Rodriguez after A-Rod’s hip surgery last year. A-Rod’s surgeon, Marc Phillipon, told The Times he never authorized Galea to work with Rodriguez and the Yankees are already on record saying they have no knowledge – and, more importantly, gave no permission – for A-Rod to work with Galea.
Galea says he only gave A-Rod anti-inflammatory medication and not human growth hormone, and Rodriguez has continued to stay quiet when asked about when he will meet with FBI officials investigating Galea. A-Rod is one of several athletes connected to Galea (Tiger Woods, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are among the others).
Beyond the obvious questions about whether Rodriguez could get himself in “real-life” trouble (a perjury charge, for example) are the baseball questions: How long will this investigation continue and will it be any kind of distraction for Rodriguez? A year ago, A-Rod enjoyed a year that – once he came back in May – was largely controversy-free. To say that didn’t help Rodriguez enjoy a terrific season and postseason would be naive. If he’s hounded by investigators, press and allegations throughout 2010, will it affect his play?
There is also the question of what, if anything, this means for Rodriguez’s relationship with the Yankees. Here’s what I know: many Yankees officials are tired of these kinds of issues surrounding Rodriguez. The Yankees have stuck to their party line about not asking A-Rod anything until he’s done dealing with the FBI, but at some point there will be conversation about what, exactly, A-Rod did and whether it was a violation of his contract with the team. Remember, the Yankees say they didn’t approve him working with Galea.
There are no obvious answers for these questions yet and maybe Rodriguez will be able to deal with it and have it fade away like last year’s steroids issues did. Legal issues like this, however, often have a way of lingering. Today, A-Rod said “nada, nada, nothing” when asked if anything was new regarding the FBI; at some point, he’ll have to come up with a better answer than that.
That’s probably it for the blogging tonight. Thanks to everyone for reading today. Back at it tomorrow with a game against the Pirates at The Boss. Check in all day for updates.