|Mark Teixeira on Alex Rodriguez: ‘Playing well cures all things’||07.14.15 at 5:34 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — The Yankees are in first place in the AL East and Mark Teieira says embattled teammate Alex Rodriguez is one of the biggest reasons why.
Teieira is one of three Yankees at the All-Star Game and he said before Tuesday’s 86th Midsummer Classic that A-Rod has been exactly what the Yankees needed in the middle of their order.
Rodriguez is batting .278 with 18 homers and 51 RBIs. Only Teixeira has more homers (22) and RBIs (62) on the team, which is leading the Rays by 3.5 games at the break.
“He’s been huge,” Teixeira said. “Without Alex, we’re not in first place. There’s no doubt. What he’s done in the middle of our lineup kind of solidified the DH spot for us. We really appreciate what he’s doing for our team.”
The Red Sox can certainly attest to that. He belted first-inning homers Friday and Saturday nights, with Friday’s coming in a 5-1 win. Rodriguez had an RBI double and scored Sunday in an 8-6 New York win that put the last place Red Sox 6.5 games back.
Rodriguez is certainly among those under consideration for Comeback Player of the Year at the halfway point of a season that comes on the heels of his one-year suspension for his Biogenesis PED transgressions.
“Playing well cures all things,” Teixeira said of Rodriguez. “If he were struggling right now, you can imagine the hoopla surrounding him. It would’ve been a mess. But when you play well, that means that your team is playing well and your teammates are appreciating what you’re doing. It’s worked out for him.
“He’s a great teammate. He’s always been a great teammate. I said that in spring training. We’ve never had a problem with Alex as a teammate. He’s proven to everybody he hasn’t changed as a teammate or as a baseball player. When he’s healthy, he’s as good as it gets out there.”
|Jonathan Papelbon thinks both Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez ‘100 percent’ belong in HOF||07.13.15 at 5:55 pm ET|
He thinks both should eventually have a place in Cooperstown.
The subject of Pete Rose and his 1989 lifetime ban from baseball for betting on games as a player-manager is again front and center this week here in his hometown. This past March, Rose formally reapplied for reinstatement. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was open to sitting down with Rose to discuss it. Some took that willingness to reopen the case as a sign that reinstatement might be around the corner.
ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” reported two weeks ago that there was new evidence that Rose bet on Reds’ games in 1986. Still, there is speculation that Manfred might be willing to listen to the argument for reinstatement and maybe, just maybe, that will lead to a discussion on whether he should be inducted in Cooperstown, which would have to come via the Veterans Committee.
The last time the All-Star Game was here in Cincinnati (1988), Rose was the manager of the Reds. Just over a year later, he was banished from the game in Aug. 1989 by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Tuesday night, he will be permitted to take part in ceremonies in the park he never played or managed in.
“Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, 100 percent, 100 percent,” Papelbon said. “If you don’t want to put him in as a manager, put him in as a player. He made mistakes as a manager but didn’t make mistakes as a player. Personally, I don’t think there’s no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.”
Rodriguez was banned from baseball for the entire 2014 season for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal. A-Rod is 5-for-17 in his career against Papelbon, including two home runs.
Papelbon, who will be in the bullpen for the National League on Tuesday night, was asked who should make the Hall first, Rose or Rodriguez?
“I would hope Pete Rose because he’s already waited long enough and Alex is still playing,” Papelbon said, before adding, “Alex is definitely a Hall of Famer for sure, 100 percent.”
|Alex Rodriguez has some advice for his first-place Yankees: ‘Stay hungry and humble’||07.11.15 at 12:21 am ET|
The mere thought of Alex Rodriguez giving advice on humility might make many laugh and crack a cynical joke or two.
“Yeah, it’s always important to get the first one out of any series, especially here,” Rodriguez said.
The Yankees are now 47-39, guaranteed of hitting the All-Star break in first place in the A.L. East. They’ve actually put some distance between themselves and the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays, all of whom have been slumping badly in the last week.
“This group has a good feel to it,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a hard-working group. It competes hard every night, and I think the key for us finishing the first half and also continuing into the second half is to stay hungry and humble.”
Rodriguez, still hearing the catcalls and boobirds loud and clear, homered in the first inning off red-hot starter Clay Buchholz to stake his team to 1-0 lead. It was his 17th round-tripper of the season, second only to the 22 of Mark Teixeira. While Buchholz had been showing ace stuff (two earned runs over his last four starts), it’s not a surprise that Rodriguez had success right off the bat against the Red Sox starter in the first inning. Rodriguez came in hitting .407 (11-for-27) lifetime with two home runs against Buchholz.
“He’s been dominant here the last three or four games,” Rodriguez said. “We know that. He came off a complete game. Clay’s always a great competitor. Just got a good pitch to hit and hit it well. Sometimes numbers can be deceiving. I can’t say that I feel all that well up there. The key with Clay is get a good pitch to hit. He has a number of a ways of getting you out. You don’t want to chase.”
In Rodriguez’s next at-bat he singled off Alejandro De Aza’s glove in right.
In his third plate appearance, Rodriguez showed he can be patient, too, working a bases loaded walk against Robbie Ross after the Red Sox spent the fourth inning kicking around the ball.
|Closing Time: Red Sox’ win streak snapped as Clay Buchholz leaves with injury in loss to Yankees||07.10.15 at 10:14 pm ET|
The Red Sox had plenty of reason for optimism heading into their weekend series with the Yankees.
The team had won four straight, eight of 10 and nine of 12 to go along with starter Clay Buchholz winning four straight starts and the Red Sox winning six of his last seven.
But, all that optimism came to a screeching halt in the fourth inning as the Yankees scored three times, taking a 4-0 lead and Buchholz left with an injury. In the end the Red Sox fell to the Yankees 5-1 Friday night at Fenway Park.
With one out and runners on second and third, Buchholz left the game with what the Red Sox called right elbow tightness. In the middle of a Stephen Drew at-bat, catcher Sandy Leon went to the mound and called for manager John Farrell and the trainer. After a short discussion he left the game. Lefty reliever Robbie Ross Jr. took his place on the mound.
A Mike Napoli error on a ground ball allowed the second Yankees run to score and Drew to reach. Then, two batters later, Brock Holt booted a routine grounder, which would have ended the inning and instead the third Yankees run scored. The Yankees would get their third run of the inning when Ross walked Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded.
Buchholz finished going 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits, while not walking a batter and striking out three. He allowed a solo homer to Rodriguez in the first inning.
Mookie Betts cut into the Yankees lead with a solo home run in the fifth, but that’s all the offense the Red Sox could get.
Yankees starter Michael Pineda held the Red Sox to just one run over 6 2/3 innings, while striking out six. Ross Jr. gave the Red Sox a very solid relief effort, going 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits, while walking one and striking out four.
Justin Masterson tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning in his first relief appearance of the season.
What went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:
|David Ortiz on his autograph being offered for Alex Rodriguez HR ball: ‘That is not OK with me at all’||05.04.15 at 1:04 pm ET|
After Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays for fourth on MLB’s all-time list with his 660th home run, which went over the Green Monster on Friday, the Red Sox fan who caught it was offered memorabilia signed by David Ortiz in exchange for the ball.
Not only was the trade turned down, but on Saturday, Ortiz expressed his disappointment that his autograph was offered without his permission.
“That is not OK with me at all,” Ortiz said. “That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. They’re supposed to ask me before any of my [expletive] get offered to anyone.”
Ortiz has reason to hesitate in helping out A-Rod, as Rodriguez’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, appeared to allude to Big Papi when defending his client’s use of performance-enhancing drugs in an interview last year by implying steroid use was more widespread, saying: “I’m not going to start naming all the other players, but some of them are god-like in Boston right now, and people seem to forget that.” Ortiz and Rodriguez used to be friends but, according to Ortiz, have not spoken since that incident.
However, Ortiz said that he is not concerned with the exchange itself, but with the fact that his signature was offered without permission at all.
“It’s not because they were doing this for A-Rod‘s ball,” Ortiz said. “It’s because they’re supposed to ask for my [expletive] before they do something like that.”
|Alex Rodriguez: ‘Special’ to hit HR No. 660 at Fenway Park||05.01.15 at 11:36 pm ET|
Stepping to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning in a 2-2 game, Rodriguez laced a Junichi Tazawa 3-0 offering into the Monster seats, proving to be the game-winning home run in the Yankees‘ 3-2 win.
It was also the 660th of his career, tying him with Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list.
“I don’t know what it means,” Rodriguez said after. “I’m just very excited. I’m still in the moment. Good to do it in a good team win. I got emotional after.”
It was his first career pinch-hit home run, and just the third homer he’s hit on a 3-0 pitch. He said doing it at Fenway Park was special.
“It’s special to do it in a winning situation, late in the game,” Rodriguez said. “Against the Red Sox. Just a lot of irony to it. I started my career here in 1994 when I was 18.”
In typical Boston fashion, the fans let him hear it before he stepped to the plate, and Rodriguez heard them loud and clear.
“You usually don’t hear the difference, but that boo was pretty intense,” he said. “It was pretty passionate. Like I said, I have the utmost respect for Red Sox ownership, the fans, the players, it was nice to do it and get a big win.”
Rodriguez got emotional after the homer, saying he was thinking about all the people who stayed by his side when things were tough over the past few years.
“Just thinking about my girls, wondering if they were up or if they were sleeping back home,” he said. “My mom, all the folks that stayed with me over the last few years. Just grateful. Grateful to the fans, to the Yankees, to my teammates, to major league baseball.”
|John Farrell not worried about Alex Rodriguez’s public perception with home run milestone approaching||at 5:03 pm ET|
Rodriguez is one home run from tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez is currently at 659, as he’s hit five so this season. Red Sox manager John Farrell isn’t thinking about how it would be received if he did it at Fenway Park, as he thinks of Rodriguez strictly as an opponent.
“I don’t really worry about the public perception,” said Farrell. “We see him as an opponent and how are we going to get him out.”
“He’s clearly in select company,” Farrell said. “660 being the next one, those are lofty numbers. It just suggests and clearly points to a really long and productive career by a really, really good player.”
On the other side of the field, Yankees manager Joe Girardi is actually hoping the next home run comes sooner than later.
“Of course we want to get it over with,” he said. “It’s not my job to be caught up in milestones, but what the best lineup is on that day. We are going to wait one day, but I want to get it out of the way. As much as you try not to think about it as a player, the sooner the better.”
|Red Sox-Yankees series preview||04.10.15 at 12:00 pm ET|
After starting the year against a National League team, the Sox will play their first games against a divisional opponent in the young 2015 season. Boston got two high-quality starts from Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson, along with a decent outing from Rick Porcello, which resulted in a low-scoring loss. The much talked-about offense was working in Games 1 and 3, and despite only scoring twice in Game 2, the Red Sox are in the top 10 in runs scored through three games.
With a return to an American League stadium this weekend, the Red Sox will be able to use the DH and get a better idea of how their upgraded offense will look for most of 2015. The main area of concern will be the pitching staff against the Yankees. A rotation that already has been called into question was expected to be without one of its starters, Joe Kelly, who was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. In Kelly’s absence, the Red Sox announced Wednesday that knuckleballer Steven Wright would get the start in Game 2 of the series. However, manager John Farrell said on Thursday that after Kelly threw a good bullpen session on Wednesday, “It looks like he’ll be ready to go by Saturday.”
In 2014 the Red Sox went 7-12 against the Yankees, who have started this season with a 1-2 record. New York’s only win was in Game 2 of its series with the Blue Jays, and the Yankees gave up six runs twice in the series. Their Opening Day starter, Masahiro Tanaka was roughed up by Toronto and made it through just four innings of work. There was speculation that the Japanese star was not completely healthy for his outing, but the Yankees have made it clear that they don’t believe his health had any effect on the outcome.
“I’m not going to make excuses,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told reporters after Tanaka’s outing. “He’s capable of pitching better than today, and he will. I think you’ll see it as long as he stays healthy, and I believe right now he is healthy.”
The Red Sox will see Tanaka on Sunday.
After being suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season, Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of this season on Thursday night. It was the 655th homer of A-Rod‘s career, putting him just five behind Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list.
The Yankees have two starting pitchers on the disabled list, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova.
|SI’s Tom Verducci on MFB: Red Sox ‘the best team in a very weak division’||04.06.15 at 1:07 pm ET|
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci checked in with Middays with MFB on Monday to talk about the Red Sox and other news from around the majors. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
“I do think the Red Sox are the best team in a very weak division,” he said. “It could be 90 wins or maybe even less to win this division. You could make a case for any team to finish first — and maybe even last. … But to me the Red Sox are a team that has the best offense in all of Major League Baseball. And I think their pitching is just good enough to be the best in a weak division.”
There’s been speculation that the Red Sox will go after a premier pitcher sooner rather than later, but Verducci said that might not be as crucial as some people think.
“I’m not a real big believer in that,” he said. “I know a lot has been focused on the fact that the Red Sox don’t have an ace. The team that won the division last year with 94 wins didn’t have an ace — the Baltimore Orioles. I just think the way the game is played now is entirely different than what it was 10 or 20 years ago.
“Listen, in a perfect world I’d rather have the Nationals rotation than anybody else in baseball — I’d want five aces. There’s just not enough of those pitchers to go around. But with a dynamic offense, I think they have a premier defense, I think their defense could be one of the top three in the American League.
“To me, actually, the key is going to be the bullpen. Whether they have the right pieces now, whether they make changes during the course of the season. I think you can win with basically average starting pitching as long as you have a great offense, really good defense — which they have — and a really good bullpen. And I think the key is actually figuring out how they use their bullpen and what the construct is of that bullpen.”
|Observations from Steinbrenner Field: Alex Rodriguez can still hit home runs; Joe Kelly is back in Cy Young race||03.11.15 at 5:34 pm ET|
TAMPA — Chances are the biggest takeaway from the Red Sox‘ 10-6 win over the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field Wednesday won’t be the fact that John Farrell‘s team has now won six straight. And few will probably take note that the Sox finished their day with 18 hits.
No, the highlights will likely lead with one particular fourth-inning home run.
For the first time since Sept. 20, 2013, Alex Rodriguez hit a ball over the fence in a real, live big league baseball game. Granted, this was simply his team’s ninth Grapefruit League game of spring training, but it was … well … it was, A-Rod.
Unfortunately for Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman, he will be part of that highlight reel.
“That 3-1 count to A-Rod caught a little bit more of the plate than I wanted to with a fastball,” Workman said. “On 3-1 he was looking fastball away and I gave him a fastball out over the plate, he put a good swing on the ball and obviously he’s a really good hitter. On 3-1 he got in a count where he could look for something, got it and put a good swing on it.
“It’s my second time facing big league hitters this spring, 3-1 to my first batter of the day, fastball away and he swung it like he knew it was coming. I didn’t see anything wrong with him up there.”
— Joe Kelly wouldn’t buy the fact he was clocked at 99 mph Wednesday afternoon.
“That’s probably false. My arm doesn’t feel that good,” the Red Sox starter said. “It’s definitely running a little hot. If they told me that at the end of the season last season when my arm was feeling good, I’d believe that. But there’s no way.”
Kelly may have not bought into the reported radar gun readings, but he was feeling pretty good about the outcome after making his second Grapefruit League outing of spring training. The righty allowed two runs over his three innings, but felt like his command and stuff was night and day compared to that last appearance, against the Twins.
“Overall, better control, better command within the strike zone,” said Farrell, comparing Wednesday to his start against the Twins in which virtually every ball put in play was hit hard. “I thought both curveball and changeup he threw effectively, with the exception of the two-strike curveball to Perala. Certainly a step in the right direction. I think more than anything the commanding the strike zone was improved over last time out.”
“It was a lot better,” said Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. “He was throwing the four-seamer better, and he hit his spots with a good changeup. He was consistent with all of his pitches. The command was much better.”
— Travis Shaw continued to be an intriguing player, particularly considering his skill-set: power-hitting corner man.
Shaw opened eyes once again Wednesday by taking former Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller over the right field fence on a first-pitch fastball. It was an encouraging sign for the left-handed hitting Shaw (who also doubled), having hit just .189 against lefties in 2014.
“Impressive,” said Farrell of the 24-year-old Shaw, who hit 21 home runs between Double- and Triple-A in ’14. “He had a little bit of a breakout year last year. I think it was more of him knowing himself as a hitter. Seeing him year over year, he’s much more comfortable in this environment. Against two very good arms, he gets a first-pitch fastball against Miller and then the 1-0 fastball where he’s looking for a specific spot away and puts a very good swing on a pitch. He’s swinging the bat good.”
Others standing out offensively for the Red Sox were Mookie Betts (3 hits), Luke Monz (HR, 2 hits), and Jemile Weeks (HR).
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