Twins, Giants interested in Pudge Rodriguez

The Twins and Giants have emerged as potential candidates for free agent Pudge Rodriguez.

The new possibilities, Minnesota and San Francisco, were identified by a source with a National League team in the bidding.

The Twins’ interest may depend on the health of star catcher Joe Mauer, who’s had a back issue early in camp. The Giants have Bengie Molina to catch, and he’s even penciled in as their cleanup hitter, but Pudge could get games at first base and third base in San Francisco, which is planning to employ youngsters Travis Ishikawa and Pablo Sandoval at those positions, respectively.

The Marlins play only 15 minutes from Rodriguez’s home, but they also like their young catcher, John Baker. The Astros’ catchers are struggling this spring, but they haven’t been very aggressive so far in their pursuit of Pudge, who’s played superbly for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, hitting .545 with two home runs.

The Twins make sense because Mauer’s health is a concern. But the Giants’ interest in Pudge for anything more than a backup catcher would be asinine. He’s never played third base and has limited experience at first. He obviously can still hit (he went 4 for 4 with two dingers the other night while playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC), but it doesn’t make any sense for the Giants to sign another crusty old vet to take at bats away from Pablo Sandoval, Travis Ishikawa and John Bowker at the corners. They already have one of those in Rich Aurillia.

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Pudge Rodriguez’s interesting response to steroids

Here’s what free agent catcher Pudge Rodriguez said when questioned if his name is part of the 104 players that tested positive for taking steroids in 2003.

“Only God knows,” Rodriguez said softly.

Canseco, a former teammate in Texas, has alleged he injected the steroids into Rodriguez.
Another former teammate, Alex Rodriguez, recently said he used performance-enhancing drugs while with the Rangers.

If I knew there was no way that I could have tested positive for steroids in 2003, I would have responded to that question as, “Hell no.” But Pudge decided to go with, “Only God knows.” Hmm…

Hey, at least he didn’t deny it. He just kind of sidestepped the question so that when he’s outed later, he can say, “I didn’t say my name wouldn’t be on that list. I just said God knew.”

2008 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

At the end of the year, it’s always interesting to look back at all that has happened in the world of sports over the last 12 months. 2008 brought us a host of compelling sports stories, including the culmination of the Patriots’ (unsuccessful) quest for perfection, a Bejing Olympics that featured incredible accomplishments by the likes of Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and the Redeem Team, and, of course, Brett Favre’s unretirement, which managed to hold the sports news cycle hostage for a solid month or more.

As is our tradition, we’ve once again broken our Year End Sports Review into three sections. The first is “What We Learned,” a list that’s packed with a number of impressive feats. And when there are feats, inevitably there are also failures.

Don’t miss the other two parts: “What We Already Knew” and “What We Think Might Happen.”

The New England Patriots weren’t so perfect after all.

After rolling through the 2007 regular season unscathed, the Patriots entered the 2008 Super Bowl as overwhelming favorites to roll over the pesky, but seemingly inferior New York Giants. The Pats were just one win away from staking their claim as the best football team in NFL history. But thanks to a dominating Giants’ defensive line, an improbable catch by David Tyree, and a virtually mistake-free performance by Eli Manning, the unbeatable New England Patriots were beat. It’ll go down as one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, and considering Tom Brady’s season-ending injury in 2008 cost the Pats a chance for redemption, it seems that many have forgotten how New England stood just one win away from perfection. – Anthony Stalter

Michael Phelps is part fish.

Eight gold medals in one Olympiad? No problem. Michael Phelps made the seemingly impossible look (relatively) easy en route to one of the most – if not the most – impressive Olympic performances ever. Phelps had to swim all four strokes, compete in both sprint and endurance races, and deal with the constant media attention and pressure that came along with his quest. Sure, NBC turned up the hype, but what Phelps accomplished is simply incredible. – John Paulsen

Usain Bolt is part cheetah.

First, Usain Bolt made Jamaica proud by setting a new world record (9.69) in the 100-meter sprint. Then, he broke the 12 year-old 200-meter world record with a time of 19.30 seconds. He showboated during the first race but cleaned up his act to win the second race in a professional manner. Some even say that Usain Bolt – not Michael Phelps – was the biggest story to come out of the Bejing Olympics. – JP

The Big 12 has the best quarterbacks in the nation.

The Big 12 housed some of the best quarterbacks in all of college football in 2008. Texas’s Colt McCoy, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Missouri’s Chase Daniel and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell were all considered Heisman candidates at least at one point during the season, while McCoy and Bradford are still in the running. Amazingly, Bradford and McCoy aren’t done; both will return in 2008. And although they don’t receive as much attention as the top signal callers in the conference, Kansas’s Todd Reesing and Baylor’s Robert Griffin certainly turned heads this year as well. In fact, the highly versatile Griffin is only a freshman and could make the Bears a very dangerous team for years to come. – AS

Read the rest after the jump...

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