A-Rod set to return to Yankees’ lineup tonight

The New York Post reports that Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez is almost certain to make his 2009 debut on Friday night after missing over a month recovering from hip surgery.

The plan is for Alex Rodriguez to be in the lineup as the third baseman tomorrow night in Baltimore, the Post has learned.

A conference call was scheduled between Rodriguez and members of the Yankee front office for this afternoon, and A-Rod was going to tell the organization how he felt and what his preference was for when to return from hip surgery. But the understanding going into the game, according to two sources, was that if there were no problems in today’s intra-squad game, then he would rejoin the Yanks tomorrow and play.

Rodriguez went 0-for-2 with two walks and played three innings of defense in the intra-squad game.

Rodriguez had hip surgery on May 9.

Even though he’s going to create a media distraction, the Yankees need this guy in the lineup. Xavier Nady is done for the year (although Nick Swisher is filling in admirably), Jorge Posada was just placed on the disabled list and Mark Teixeira is hitting below the Mendoza Line. The quicker A-Fraud starts hitting, the sooner the Yankees can stop skidding into the basement of the AL East. Although that would mean that their expensive pitching staff would have to stop serving up gopher balls, too.

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A-Rod refuses to address latest allegations

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Alex Rodriguez has decided not to discuss latest allegations that he used steroids as a member of the New York Yankees.

“I’m not going there,” he said after homering in an extended spring training intrasquad game in Tampa, Fla. “I’m just so excited about being back on the field and playing baseball. My team has won two games (in a row) up there and hopefully I can come back and help them win some more.”

The Daily News reported in Thursday’s edition that Roberts’ book offers an unflattering portrait of the MVP slugger as a needy personality who wanted his ego stroked constantly.

Rodriguez said he wasn’t worried that the steroids issue was being brought up again.

“No. Not really,” he said. “I’m in a good place. I think more importantly physically I feel like I’m getting better everyday. We’ve had a great week here. We’ve worked extremely hard, and I’m just very anxious to do what God put me on this earth to do, to play baseball.”

The book also goes on to say that two anonymous Yankees said they believed A-Rod was using banned substances based on visual side effects, and that a clubhouse staffer said management had a suspicion that that the third baseman may have been juicing.

What’s interesting to me is the differences between A-Rod and Barry Bonds when it comes to each player (allegedly in the case of Bonds) using steroids.

Bonds took steroids (again, allegedly) because he knew he was getting older, his body was breaking down and he wanted to add years onto his playing career. He wanted to play as long as he could so that he could break records and (try) to be remembered as the best to have ever played the game.

But by all accounts, it seems that A-Rod really just took them for vanity purposes. Everything you read on this guy is that he’s not a bad person – he’s just a weird dude with several complexes. He’s self-conscious and always worried about how he’s perceived. He’s arrogant, but he’s not a total jerk (unlike Bonds, who was both). He didn’t need to take steroids to help his on-field performance, but probably wanted to take them to improve his total look, which is probably just as important as his numbers in his eyes.

Bonds felt the need to take steroids to prolong his career. It seems like A-Rod needed them to feel good about himself and project a certain image. In both cases, it’s sad.

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