Alex Rodriguez to make season debut on Friday

Unless he suffers a setback during the next two days, Alex Rodriguez is on track to make his season debut for the Yankees on Friday against the Orioles.

Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to play another extended spring training game in Florida today. And while the Yankees are playing super-secret with their plans for the third baseman, it sounds like he’s headed for Baltimore on Friday.

Joe Girardi said he and Rodriguez discussed a scenario where A-Rod would play today, rest tomorrow and then join the Yankees. Or he could play two more games in Florida.
Regardless, it looks like Rodriguez will be back a full week earlier than predicted.

It’ll be interesting to see how A-Fraud does in his return because he didn’t opt to have full surgery, just hybrid surgery that (to my understanding) didn’t correct the entire issue but would allow him to play this season. Considering he didn’t have full corrective surgery, will he have issues fielding, diving or getting full range of motion when he swings? Is he doing more damage to the hip by rushing back?

Time will tell if he can bounce back right away or if it’ll take him a couple months before recovers (if he can, that is). Either way, Yankee fans have to be ecstatic about his return, especially considering the club just placed catcher Jorge Posada on the DL and they need A-Fraud’s bat.

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Jim Caple defends Alex Rodriguez

In one of his latest columns, Jim Caple of takes it upon himself to defend Alex Rodriguez in the wake of all the allegations he has faced over the past couple months, from cheating on his wife with Madonna to taking steroids.

Look, I’m no huge fan of Rodriguez. I frequently find his responses insincere, calculated and vetted by a PR firm. He is so worried about his image and so anxious to come off just the right way that he invariably comes off the wrong way. In fact, he has a knack for coming off the worst way possible. He needs affirmation to an annoying degree. And this new charge that he tipped pitches is potentially more serious than any of the steroids stories. Frankly, it sounds almost unbelievable — if teammates don’t like him that much, how would he convince opponents to cheat with him? — but if true, that’s a very serious offense that would warrant a suspension at the minimum.

But has he bitten off the ear of an opponent? Has he been convicted of sexual assault? Squandered a couple of hundred million dollars? Organized a dog-fighting ring?

No. When a writer reports that the game’s highest-paid and perhaps best player has taken steroids, that’s news; no question about it. What he does on the field, and whether it violates the rules, is important news. But strippers, poker and sitting in the park without a shirt? Please. And yet the media spin on his personal life makes it seem like A-Rod is such a deviant he should play third base with an ankle bracelet.

I urge everyone to check out Caple’s piece because it’s well written and if you like sarcasm, he uses a ton of it to get his point across.

I do agree with Caple in that compared to Michael Vick, A-Fraud looks like Mother Teresa. But Caple should know more than anybody is that the media is an equal opportunity provider. As long as a celebrity is doing something, the media is going to blow the story up and put it in front of the public’s face because sadly, the public will always read it. As much as we say we do, we don’t want stories about firefighters saving puppies in trees. We want to hear about how A-Fraud screwed up his marriage by banging Madonna.

The media shows what the public wants to see and you’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Television producers and newspaper editors don’t sit around and go, “Hey, let’s only report the news that we want to see today – screw the public.” No, they show the stories that the public continues to come back for. Granted, some members of the media put a massive spin on things, but again, we the public is at fault too for continuing to read it.

Anyone who frequents TSR knows I try to talk about as many positive sports stories as possible. But if I did a post about Vick fighting dogs or Warrick Dunn buying homes for single mothers, what story do you think will get more hits? I hate it, but that’s reality. So while I don’t defend that the media focuses in on every move A-Fraud makes, but I also understand why they do it.

Report: A-Rod was involved in pitch-tipping while playing for Rangers

Along with reports by Selena Roberts that state he used steroids while in high school and as a member of the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez is also being accused of tipping pitches to the opposition when he was a member of the Rangers. How did this pitch-tipping originate?

Selena Roberts: I don’t know the history of how it has worked in the major leagues, but from my reporting and the people I spoke with on the Rangers, what they noticed was a pattern of behavior by Alex over a pretty lengthy period of time, two or three years, where it just became more noticeable that his mannerisms on the field were different in games that were already over, its 10-2, something like that. When games were already decided, they noticed this behavior with Alex where he would do very obvious signs, presumably to an opposing hitter who would be a middle infielder on an opposing team, where they believed that he would tip the signs. Why was he doing this?

Roberts: What this was all part of was a quid pro quo, according to the people I spoke with. Alex would tip his middle infielder buddy on the other team and the player on the other team would in turn tip Alex. What it was was slump insurance. You could count on your buddy to help you break out of your slump, if you’re 0 for 3 or you’ve had a bad week. There was no intent to throw a game or change the outcome. How would he tip the pitches?

Roberts: If it was a changeup, sources say, he would twist his glove hand. To indicate a slider, he would allegedly sweep the dirt in front of him, and he would bend in the direction of where the pitch was going to be, inside or outside. I don’t know that it’s easy to decode. You’re talking about people who see a player on an every-day basis, day after day, year after year. I don’t know that it would be at all obvious to people who are watching or to a television audience. These are people who would know how to detect when things don’t feel right. If it happened once or twice, people might say, Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe we didn’t see what we thought we saw. But according to the people that I spoke with, this was a pattern of behavior.

As a baseball fan, this bothers me more than the steroid allegations.

If a ball player takes performance-enhancers, they will help him get stronger, recover faster from injuries and therefore gain an edge on the field. That’s cheating, but at least the players on steroids still have to have a fair amount of talent. It’s not like a 20-year old who has never picked up a bat before can juice up and all of a sudden turn into Mark McGwire.

But A-Fraud telling his fellow cheating friends what pitch is coming is flat out despicable. I don’t care if the game is 2-0 in the seventh or 20-0, you don’t help out the opposition so they can pad their stats and in turn, so you can pad your stats. That’s freaking ridiculous and I hope MLB is investigating these allegations instead of turning a blind eye to them like they did when they found out players were using steroids. (I’d be interested to find out what A-Rod’s numbers were in Texas during late innings of blow out games.)

If these allegations are true, then Rodriguez is even more of a joke than he was when he admitted to using roids. Someone who tips pitches to their opponent obviously doesn’t respect the game and he should be suspended, fined or completely banned from ever playing again. (And that goes for all of A-Fraud’s cronies that allegedly helped him in this charade, too.)

Report: A-Rod was on the juice while with Yankees

According to Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts’ new book, Alex Rodriguez was on steroids after the 2003 season and may have begun taking them as early as high school.

Roberts was the one that initially broke the news that A-Rod took steroids as a member of the Rangers and while he claims that he stopped taking performance-enhancers in 2003, she writes that he showed steroid-use symptoms into the 2005 season.

Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts, who broke the story that A-Rod flunked a steroid screening in 2003, reveals fellow Bombers nicknamed the third baseman “B—h T–s” in 2005.

That was after he put on 15pounds in the off-season and seemed to develop round pectorals, a condition called gynecomastia that can be caused by anabolic steroids, she writes.
In addition, an unnamed major-leaguer is quoted as saying Rodriguez and steroid-tainted pitcher Kevin Brown were seen together with human growth hormone – HGH – in 2004.
Two other anonymous Yankees said they believed A-Rod was using based on side effects they saw – and a clubhouse staffer said management wondered if he was using banned substances.
“No one ever asked Alex directly that I know of, but there was a lot of suspicion in house,” the employee is quoted as saying.

You knew there had to be more to the story and that it would eventually come out that he was juicing while as a member of the Yankees. The smoking gun was when it was reported that he still had a relationship with steroid-linked trainer Angel Presinal well into his Yankee days. Why have Presinal around if you’re not juicing?

What’s infuriating about all of this is that the Yankees had to have known. If his teammates were calling him “Bitch Tits” and people saw him with Presinal, they had to have known he was juicing. But instead of doing something about it, they took a page out of the MLB handbook on how to deal with a player on steroids and they just turned a blind eye.

This news couldn’t be any worse timing for A-Rod since he’s scheduled to play in a spring training game in Tampa today. The Yankees thought that they would be getting their All-Star third baseman back soon, but what they’re really going to get is another media frenzy.

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