Tag:Alex Rodriguez
Posted on: August 7, 2011 3:34 pm

Ex-Yankees batboy writes tell-all book

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Yankees batboy Luis Castillo was the last of the team's batboys to not have to sign a confidentiality agreement, so he's spilling the beans in a new memoir, Clubhouse Confidential.

The New York Post has some of the highlights from the book:

Alex Rodriguez was "high-maintenance": "A-Rod irritated the other players because he was so high-maintenance. He required his personal assistant to position his toothbrush on a certain part of the sink, specifically the edge near the right-hand cold water tap, leaning with bristles up over the basin. The first time he ordered me to do this, I couldn't believe my ears when he said, 'And put some toothpaste on it.'"

A-Rod brags about his homers: "A-Rod was different in another, childish way that made players laugh behind his back. When you watch games at home you sometimes see players come into the dugout after they hit a home run. If you've ever wondered what they're saying, it's usually things like 'Way to go!' or 'Good job!' Not A-Rod. After he hits a home run, he comes into the dugout and brags about it. Usually he's speaking Spanish to one of the other Latino players, and if he hit a home run he wouldn't shut up. 'Wow, did you see I hit a home run?' he'd say. 'That pitcher threw me a ball right over the plate and I smashed it over the fence. Did you ever see anything like that before?'"

Jeter had a mildly profane greeting for all the clubbies: "But this greeting wasn't meant to annoy anyone; on the contrary, it was intended to be a funny way to start our workday together. There's no question in my mind that Jeter's easygoing personality traits -- the way he joked, teased and bonded with players -- were something extra, almost in contrast to the aggressive fielding that fans had come to expect."

Hideki Matsui had a rather different rally cry before Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS loss to the Red Sox: "at the end of the meeting it was traditional for Joe Torre to ask Jorge Posada what we were going to do. He would reply, "Grind it!" This time -- I guess to make Hideki Matsui feel more part of the team -- Torre turned to him at the end of the meeting. 'What are we going to do?' Hideki paused for just a second before replying. 'Kick ass. Pop champagne. And get some ho's.'

Castillo also has more on how Jeter picked up women, a then-married A-Rod had several ladies on the side and Joe Torre's penchant for the ponies.

The code of baseball frowns upon airing dirty laundry in public, but if you can get one-on-one with a clubhouse attendant -- or clubbie in baseball parlance -- you'll hear some of the best stories about baseball you'll ever hope to hear. Castillo will never work in baseball again, but I'm sure he'll get some cash out of his book, which comes out Aug. 16. I've got to admit, I'm looking forward to it and will certainly read it, even though it's not exactly a revelation that Jeter's good with the ladies, A-Rod's kind of a jerk and Matsui is amusing.

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Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:21 am

Report: A-Rod wasn't at poker game

Alex RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

You know that story about the illegal poker game with cocaine, celebrities, fights and Alex Rodriguez? It's a great story, but someone at the game said it all happened -- except for the A-Rod part.

Professional poker player Dan Bilzerian -- who was at that game in Beverly Hills and was the named source in the Star Magazine story fingering A-Rod -- told the New York Daily News that Rodriguez wasn't there.

"A-Rod was not at that game," Bilzerian told the Daily News. "It's ridiculous."

He added he remembered the game in November of 2009 at Cody Leibel's house, because he was "stiffed." 

"He wasn't there, I'm telling you," Bilzerian said. "He was playing in the World Series at the time."

The 2009 World Series had three games -- Games 4, 5 and 6 -- in the month of November, with the Yankees winning the title on Nov. 4 at Yankee Stadium.

The second source in the Star Magazine report told the Daily News that he wasn't at the 2009 party, but knows a guy who had been at an "illegal house game" with Rodriguez.

"I never played with him in a home game, but I know [someone who] witnessed him at one. It was an illegal house game," the source told the newspaper, who requested anonymity and didn't "want to get A-Rod in trouble."

On Thursday, Rodriguez's publicist said there were "numerous factual inaccuracies" in Star Magazine's report. 

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 3:29 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 7:19 am

MLB investigating A-Rod for poker party

By Matt Snyder

Yankees third baseman -- and big-time tabloid presence -- Alex Rodriguez could face suspension from Major League Baseball, according to ESPN New York, quoting an anonymous MLB executive. The suspension wouldn't be due to anything Rodriguez has done on the field, though.

A-Rod was reportedly at an "underground" poker game that involved some people openly using cocaine and a fight over one player not wanting to cough up his $500,000 in losses. The original report came from RadarOnline.com, though it sounds like Rodriguez was simply there playing poker and not doing any of the coke/fighting. He even reportedly "tried to distance himself" from the game once the fight broke out. The poker game reportedly took place at the mansion of a record executive in Beverly Hills.

Still, ESPN's anonymous source said that commissioner Bud Selig is "fed up" with the Yankees slugger. Rodriguez had been warned to avoid these poker games in the past by MLB officials, so that would likely be the source of the commissioner's frustrations.

"We take this very seriously and have been investigating this matter since the initial investigation," Major League Baseball said in a statement. "As part of the investigation, the commissioner's office will interview Mr. Rodriguez."

For now, what actually happened is just a bunch of speculation at this point. The MLB offices are merely looking to gather information and find out how accurate the reporting is. If the reports are all true, it sounds like all A-Rod's really guilty of is bad judgement -- and that certainly doesn't make him a unique human being.

Rodriguez, 36, is on the disabled list as he rehabs from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 9:29 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 9:42 am

Pepper: Bedard's start in nick of time

By Matt Snyder

Good news is hard to come by when a team has lost 16 games in a row, but the Mariners at least received marginally good news Monday. Left-handed starting pitcher Erik Bedard will return to the mound Friday (MLB.com).

On the surface, it's kind of a "who cares?" type movement. The Mariners are 15 1/2 games out and obviously will not factor into the AL West race. It's just that there's something else rapidly approaching, and that is the non-waiver trade deadline. Bedard is 32, on a one-year contract and has been effective when healthy this season (3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 85 strikeouts, 26 walks in 90 innings).

With the deadline Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET, Bedard's start coming Friday, several contending teams looking for starting pitching, a lack of quality starting pitchers readily available and the Mariners obviously in selling mode, Bedard coming off the disabled list couldn't come at a much better time for all parties involved. As long as he gets through the start healthy, expect to hear his name in rumors this coming weekend.

HOW TRADES HAPPEN: Former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden now writes for ESPN, and he has an article up about how trades happen. It's nothing really Earth-shattering, in fact it might seem a bit obvious, but it's still a detailed look about the methodology of going through a major-league trade from someone who has made several in his time.

BUCHHOLZ PROGRESSING: The Red Sox have the best record in the American League, and they've been doing it of late with a patchwork pitching rotation. Jon Lester returned Monday night and now Clay Buchholz is making solid progress in his fight to return from a back injury. Monday, he estimated that he's "75 to 80 percent" healthy after throwing a bullpen session, including breaking pitches (Boston.com).

LACK OF SECURITY: Last week, a fan ran onto Citi Field during a Mets-Cardinals game. Usually when these clowns run on the field, they're stymied by security pretty quickly. Not this time, as the fan took security for quite a ride. Jon Bois over at SB Nation has the details along with video and a map.

WHITE HOUSE INVASION: The Giants won the World Series last year with a group of colorful personalities. That group was back together Monday as the champs visited President Obama in the White House. The Giants went through the usual song and dance, glad-handing with the President, giving him some gifts and posing for plenty of pictures. Perhaps the best part of the whole visit was the presentation. You wouldn't expect personalities like Tim Lincecum or Brian Wilson to dial anything down for the visit -- like a haircut or shave, perhaps -- and they didn't disappoint. Check out the photo at right here, courtesy of the Associated Press.

SEVEN DOWN, TWO TO GO: Michael Cuddyer went into Monday night's game having played six positions for the Twins: First base, second base, third base, left field, right field and center field. After manager Ron Gardenhire saw his pitching staff bludgeoned for 25 hits and 20 runs in seven innings against the Rangers, he turned to Cuddyer for the eighth. Cuddyer ended up throwing the only scoreless frame of the game for the Twins. Sure, he gave up two hits and a walk, but he got through it without allowing a run (3 Up, 3 Down). No other pitcher for the Twins Monday could say the same -- Phil Dumatrait had a line with zero earned runs, but did allow two inherited runners to score. So now the only two positions Cuddyer has never played in a game for the Twins are shortstop and catcher. He has appeared as a DH before, so if you want to count that, he's eight for 10.

A-ROD ON TARGET: Yankees injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on July 11 and was given a four to six weeks timetable for his return. As things presently stand, everything is in order and the Yankees expect him back by mid-August (MLB.com).

WALLACE'S TIME LIMITED: Brett Wallace got off to a hot start for the Astros this season. It wasn't just a few games. Through April 30, Wallace was hitting .388 with a .988 OPS. Since then, however, both figures have pretty progressively come down to the current marks of .279 and .749, respectively. Manager Brad Mills has reportedly tried to balance protecting Wallace against left-handers versus trying to develop the young first baseman. Mills is now leaning toward sitting Wallace more often against left-handers (Ultimate Astros).

BALL-HAWKIN': Highly-touted Angels rookie Mike Trout hit his first major-league home run Sunday, and it was caught by famous ball hawk Zack Hample -- who has caught over 5,000 balls at major-league games and written three books on the subject. The OC Register has the story about how Hample planned to catch Trout's first homer, how he made it happen and how he gave the ball back to Trout.

MORE DAY BASEBALL: When the Marlins move into their new home next season -- hopefully to a lot more fanfare than they get in their current football stadium -- they'll be playing a lot more day games (MLB.com).

BROOKS WAS HERE: The Orioles have begun building a statue to honor Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson at Camden Yards. The statue will be nine feet tall and weight 1,500 pounds. It's scheduled to be unveiled Oct. 21 of this year. Fittingly, the statue will depict the 16-time Gold Glover preparing to make a routine throw to first base (Baltimore Sun).

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 6:27 pm

Yankees reserve has appendectomy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ramiro PenaYankees infielder Ramiro Pena underwent an emergency appendectomy this morning, the New York Post reports.

Pena doesn't quite have the same name recognition as Matt Holliday or Adam Dunn, but he is a Yankee and the team is already down a third baseman in Alex Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list following knee surgery. The Post notes Joba Chamberlain, already out for the season following Tommy John surgery, had an appendectomy two weeks ago.

According to the newspaper, Pena woke up this morning and called Yankee trainers complaining about stomach pains. He was taken to a hospital in the Tampa Bay area. He is expected to miss four to six weeks and the team called up Brandon Laird from Triple-A.

Laird, who will make his major league debut when he gets into a game, is hitting .266/.296/.415 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Pena has two hits in 25 at-bats this season, playing in 14 games. 

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 8:20 pm

Thome 4 homers away from 600

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Lost amidst Derek Jeter's run at 3,000 hits is Jim Thome's pursuit of 600 home runs. With a three-run shot of Kansas City's Felipe Paulino in the sixth inning of Sunday's game, Thome hit the 596th home run of his career.

Thome, 40, did it in style, too -- hitting the ball an estimated 490 feet to right-center field, making it the longest homer hit in the short history of Target Field. Last year he hit a 480-foot shot.

The homer also broke a 1-1 tie, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead in the sixth inning. Minnesota went on to win 4-3.

Watch Thome's bomb here

Thome is attempting to become just the eighth player in baseball history to reach 600, but the fifth since 2002. The fact that the other names to join the 600 club this decade include Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa has marred the accomplishment -- all three have been tied to performance-enhancing drugs. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only one of the newest members of the 600 club not to be tied to PEDs, although nobody  -- including Griffey and Thome --- are above suspicion just by the virtue of having played during the so-called Steroid Era.

Sunday's home run was the 500th of his career in the American League. Thome hit 96 home runs with the Phillies from 2003-05. He's the 11th player to hit 500 home runs in the American League.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:54 pm

Remembering the 2001 All-Star Game

Rodriguez, Ripken

By Evan Brunell

Arizona is currently in the headlines due to hosting the 2011 All-Star Game, but 10 years ago the state made news due to the Diamondbacks downing the Yankees in a thrilling World Series that will stand as one of the all-time best.

But 2001 also boasted an All-Star Game to remember as Seattle hosted Cal Ripken, Jr.'s 19th and final (and all consecutive) All-Star Game. It should have been 20, but he wasn't elected to the game in his rookie year, when he won the Rookie of the Year Award and finished 30th in MVP voting.

Ripken, who retired after the 2001 season as baseball's Ironman with an impregnable 2,632 consecutive games played, was voted in as the starting third baseman, but moved to his old home of shortstop when starting shortstop Alex Rodriguez "encouraged" (read: physically pushed) Ripken to return to his home for over 14 years.

“At the time, it wasn’t so meaningful because I was mad," Ripken told the Baltimore Sun last week. "I don’t like to be surprised. I was wired, I was on a mike, and I really wanted to tell [Rodriguez], ‘No, get out of here,’ in a different way than I just described it to you.”

Despite Ripken's aversion, the swapping of positions was a great sight to see, with a young superstar standing aside for a legend.

“It was the coolest gesture that anyone can give you,” Ripken added. “When it was all said and done and I hadn’t embarrassed myself out there, it was the coolest gesture ever.”

But Ripken wasn't done showing us what made him such a terror for two decades and what got him elected to the Hall of Fame on his first try by a landslide. After a career in which he redefined the shortstop position and made it a power position with a career line of .276/.340/.447 and two MVP awards, Ripken gave everyone a final goodbye by being named Most Valuable Player after hitting the first pitch he saw in the game from Chan Ho Park in the third inning over the left-field fence, scoring the game's first run and becoming the oldest player to ever homer in the All-Star Game. (See below for video.)

That score held until the fifth inning, when Ivan Rodriguez singled off Mike Hampton, scoring Jason Giambi to push the AL lead to 2-0. That was whittled to 2-1 on Ryan Klesko's sacrifice fly against Mike Stanton, scoring Jeff Kent. Derek Jeter and Magglio Ordonez both delivered back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the sixth against Jon Lieber to provide the final score, 4-1.

Ripken's home run was recently named a finalist in MLB.com's Midsummer Classics contest, and is going up against Stan Musial's walkoff home run in the 12th inning of the 1955 game. The winner will be announced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

On the eve of the All-Star Game 10 years later, the 2001 game still stands as one of the greatest.

See other All-Star Games to remember: 1941: Ted Williams blasts walkoff homer | 1949: First integrated edition | 1970's Ray Fosse/Pete Rose collision | 1999: Ted Williams steals show | 2002: The Tie

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:44 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 6:50 pm

Victorino says he 'owes' appearance to fans

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- With a record 83 players making the All-Star roster, there are as many questions about who isn't in Phoenix for Tuesday night's game as there are about who will be on the field.

Phillies center-fielder Shane Victorino won the "Final Vote," and even though he's on the disabled list, he felt the need to show up and tip his cap. He said he understands, however, why some -- like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez -- chose not to come to the game:

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