Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

A-Rod will not play for another club this season

It appears that the 46,459 people who attended Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium did indeed witness Alex Rodriguez’s final game of the 2016 season. Whether he try to resume his playing career next season and join a team in spring training is still a possibility I suppose, but a spokesman for A-Rod made it clear Monday that the three-time American League Most Valuable Player is done for this season.

Ron Berkowitz, Rodriguez’s publicist, issued a statement that read: “I want to put all this talk to rest about Alex playing for any team this season. It’s not happening. Like he said Friday night, he is happy and he is going to take some time to relax and hang with his family and friends.”

There had been speculation that the Marlins might be interested in signing Rodriguez, a Miami native and resident, following the loss of slugger Giancarlo Stanton likely for the rest of the season because of a groin injury. A-Rod never used the word “retire” in his press conferences before and after Friday night’s game, which fueled talk that he might seek to hook up with another team. The Yankees granted Rodriguez his unconditional release after Friday night’s game for the purpose of his agreeing to work next year as a consultant with young players in the organization.

Rookie pair take the baton from A-Rod

On the first day of Yankees baseball without Alex Rodriguez, the franchise turned back the clock to honor its World Series title club of 20 years ago and then offered a glimpse into the future with a starting lineup containing some new names.

And those names, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, made history right away. They became the first teammates to hit home runs in their first major league plate appearances in the same game. On top of that, they did so in successive at-bats.

Austin was still getting high-fived in the dugout after his drive into the lower right field stands when Judge smoked a thunderous clout that hit off the facade above the batter’s eye in dead center field well above Monument Park.


Tyler Austin (left) congratulated  for first major-league home run by teammate Aaron Judge, who followed suit minutes later (USA Today photo). 

“You can’t draw it up better than that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We were even able to get both balls back. Austin’s bounced back onto the field, and Aaron’s went into the net. That was special.”

Each newcomer had a 2-for-4 game and displayed electric potential. Less than 24 hours after Yankees fans bid farewell to A-Rod, a new era was emerging before an enthusiastic crowd of 41,682 at Yankee Stadium. The paperwork of granting Rodriguez his unconditional release cleared a roster spot for Austin, who went to work immediately at first base for a resting Mark Teixeira.

After left fielder Brett Gardner, who has hit by a pitch Friday night, notified Girardi that he would not be a player Saturday, the Yankees got word to Judge, who was in upstate Rochester with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, around midnight. He made the lengthy drive down the Dewey Thruway, hit the city at around 6 a.m. and reported for duty four hours later.

It did not take either rookie long to get into the mix. Each touched the ball in the first inning, which I always think is important for a player making his big-league debut. It gets him in the game from the outset. Austin took a throw at first base from shortstop Didi Gregorius, and Judge made a nice play tracking a fly ball to right field by Evan Longoria.

Look, Friday night was a nice sentimental sendoff to a once great player, but after watching Rodriguez swing behind fastballs for the better part of a .200 season and hit even below that over the past seven calendar months, change was refreshing. Former Scranton teammates Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine were on the field as well. The Yankees are definitely showing off a new look.

Some veterans did their part in the 8-4 victory over the Rays. Starlin Castro, Aaron Hicks and Gregorius, in the unfamiliar role as cleanup hitter, also went deep as the Yankees matched their season high for homers in a game with five. The amazing part of that is that none in the quintet is over the age of 26.

The outburst helped Masahiro Tanaka offset two home runs by Tampa Bay first baseman Phil Miller, which accounted for all the Rays’ runs. Tanaka was pretty effective against everybody else in a no-walk, eight-strikeout effort over seven innings.

Before the game, a reunion of the 1996 World Series champions brought some of that era’s favorites onto the field for a pregame ceremony in which players emerged from the gate between the visitors’ bullpen and Monument Park and walked to their former positions — Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, Wade Boggs, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill, Jimmy Key, Cecil Fielder, David Cone, John Wetteland, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Girardi, among others. Arriving on carts were coaches Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph and Jose Cardenal in one and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre with manager Joe Torre in another. There was also a tribute to the late Don Zimmer on the center field screen.

This was the unit that rebounded from the playoff loss to Seattle the year before to begin a dynastic run that led to in six American League pennants and four World Series titles over eight seasons. As Yankees fans witnessed Saturday, it has to start somewhere.

A-Rod has impact in final game with the Yankees

There was no home run, which would have made the night ideal, but his final game for the Yankees Friday night was all that Alex Rodriguez could have hoped for. He got a run-scoring double his first time up, hit the ball hard in two of his three other at-bats and even got to take the field one last time at third base.

All the while he listened to a capacity crowd of 46,469 at Yankee Stadium shower him with applause, chants of “A-Rod!” and “We want Alex!” throughout the muggy summer evening. Manager Joe Girardi, who has faced criticism for not playing Rodriguez more often this week, broke down in the interview room after the 6-3 victory over the Rays, which indicated that his decision to bench A-Rod was purely based on the 41-year-old’s declining ability and not for any other reason.

It was Girardi who approached Rodriguez after his final at-bat in the seventh inning and asked him if he wanted to wear his glove one more time. The answer was easy for A-Rod. As fans were bellowing “We want A-Rod!” their hero trotted onto the field at the start of the ninth inning. After the first out by Dellin Betances, who struck out the side to earn his fourth save, Girardi sent Ronald Torreyes out to third base, which allowed Rodriguez to receive yet another ovation from the crowd.

“I can’t say enough about the fans,” Rodriguez said. “With all that I have been through, for all those people to be here and show me love was overwhelming.”

It is true that for the most part Yankees fans have rallied around Rodriguez, who has tried very hard to win back their support after an ugly period in 2014 when he was suspended for the season for violating Major League Baseball’s policy against anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs and went on a campaign to discredit the commissioner’s office, the Yankees, their doctors and even his union, the Major League Players Association.

Since his return in 2015, Rodriguez has apologized profusely for that behavior and has tried hard to make amends. But after a very strong first four months last year, A-Rod fell into a steady decline that continued into this season to the point that he lost at-bats as the designated hitter against right-handed pitching. An agreement with Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner led to Friday night, Rodriguez’s last in a Yankees uniform.

It was a night filled with joy and success. Starlin Castro drove in four runs with a two-run single and a two-run home run. Aaron Hicks, who has struggled himself to win over fans, also homered. CC Sabathia pitched six gutty innings for only his second victory in 10 starts since June 16.

Rodriguez was happy that he was able to contribute to a victory in his last game in pinstripes. Whether it is his last game in any big-league uniform seems to be a matter of conjecture.

“This will be pretty tough to top,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know what else a man can ask for.”

Before leaving the field, Rodriguez walked over to his old third base position, scooped up some dirt and placed it in his pocket. He later put the dirt in a pouch when he changed into civvies.

“It was something I saw Roger Clemens do, and I thought it was cool,” Rodriguez said. “Third base is where I lived in my time with the Yankees. I wanted to take some of that with me.”

Thunderstorm shortens A-Rod’s pregame ceremony

It rained all over Alex Rodriguez’s parade Friday night. A fierce thunderstorm with nor’easter winds whipping the rain shortened the pregame ceremony prior to Rodriguez’s last game with the Yankees.

Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who worked out an agreement with Rodriguez whereby he will be released Saturday in order to sign a new contract as a consultant, presented A-Rod with a framed jersey No. 13 and a base signed by teammates. Mariano Rivera escorted Rodriguez’s daughters onto the field and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson escorted A-Rod’s mother. Former Yankees outfielder and manager Lou Piniella, who was A-Rod’s first major league manager in Seattle, was featured on a taped message on the center field screen.


Whether Rodriguez intended to make a speech is not known, but he and the rest of the group were forced into the dugout because of the heavy downpour that delayed the start of the game for half an hour.

After the tarpaulin was removed and the grounds crew began working on the field, Rodriguez did wind springs in right field to hearty applause from the sellout crowd. The announcement of his name in the starting lineup for the last time in pinstripes drew the loudest ovation by far.

Former Yankees’ impressions of Alex Rodriguez

Views of Alex Rodriguez from those who were around him with the Yankees:

Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, now Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer: “Alex was a hard worker, a genuine fan of the game and possessed great ability. In our time together, I always knew that the game mattered to him. Baseball teaches all of us at some point, and I think he should be proud of the way he carried himself these last two years. I wish Alex and his family all the best in the future.”

Derek Jeter: “I’ve spent 22 years playing against, playing with and watching Alex from afar, and there are two things that stand out to me the most: the conversations we had when we were young — hoping for the opportunity to play at the Major League level and then somehow finding a way to stick around — and the championship we won together in 2009. That was a season everyone on that team can cherish. What people don’t realize is how much time, effort and work that Alex put in on a daily basis. He lives and breathes baseball. I know it will be difficult for him to not be on the field, but I’m sure he will continue to give back to the game. Congrats, Alex.”

Andy Pettitte: “I had a chance to see Alex as a young player in the league, and I knew immediately he was going to be special. It was always fun competing against Alex, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play side-by-side with him in New York. He was a big reason we were able to win the 2009 World Series. I wish Alex and his family nothing but the best moving forward.”

Jorge Posada: “Alex was not only one of the best players in the world, he was also one of the smartest players on the field. It was such a great combination. Please go have fun and enjoy your family — you are an awesome dad. I’m very proud of you.”

Mariano Rivera: “It was a privilege to play with Alex. Through his preparation and work ethic, you saw how much he cared about this game and about helping this team win. I love him — as a friend and as a teammate. He was all you could ask for in both.”

Robinson Cano, now with the Mariners: “He’s one of the best players who ever played. He’s a guy who worked hard. I’ve never seen a guy who worked harder than him. There are three things that I can say. He loves baseball, he’s a guy who works hard and a guy who loved to win. He was a great teammate. For me, he was one of the best teammates I’ve had and a guy who helped me when I first came up and I appreciate all of the things he has done for me.”

Celebratory weekend at Yankee Stadium

The Yankees will open a six-game homestand with an especially busy weekend as they honor Alex Rodriguez Friday night, the 20th anniversary of the 1996 World Series champions Saturday and Mariano Rivera Sunday in the three-game series against the Rays.

The Yanks will recognize Rodriguez in a pregame ceremony prior to his final game with the club. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 6:50 p.m. with ceremonies to follow soon thereafter. Please note that the Yankees-Rays game is now scheduled to start at 7:35 p.m.

The Yankees’ celebration of their World Series triumph of 20 years ago will begin Friday night as the first 15,000 people in attendance will receive a 1996 World Series replica trophy, presented by Delta Air Lines.

An on-field reunion of the 1996 champs will take place before Saturday’s game. Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Wade Boggs will be in attendance, along with Rivera, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Jimmy Key, John Wetteland, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, among others.

Finishing off the weekend will be Sunday’s Monument Park plaque dedication ceremony for Rivera, which will feature many notable Yankees alumni and special guests to honor Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader.

Fans are asked to be in their seats by noon for the introductions and subsequent ceremonies prior to the regularly scheduled Saturday and Sunday games, which will air exclusively on the YES Network along with the pregame festivities. On both dates, Yankee Stadium gates will open to ticket-holding fans at 11 a.m.

The Hard Rock Cafe presents Little Steven’s Underground Garage Concert Series, powered by JBL will continue in the Pepsi Food Court on the third-base side of the Field Level Friday with The Connection. The performance is scheduled to take place from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Admission to the pregame concert is included with a valid game ticket for that date. Future acts are currently scheduled to perform throughout the summer. More information on the series can be found at http://www.yankees.com/bands.

Ticket specials will run Monday Military Personnel Game), Tuesday (Military Personnel Game) and Wednesday (MasterCard Half-Price, Military Personnel, Senior Citizen, Student and Youth Game). For a complete list of ticket specials, including game dates, seating locations, and terms and conditions, fans should visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketspecials. Please note that all ticket specials are subject to availability.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Monday, Aug. 15 – Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 7:05 p.m.
* Yankees T-shirt Night, presented by Kowa, to first 18,000 in attendance.

Tuesday, Aug. 16 – Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 7:05 p.m.
* Yankees Coloring Book Night, presented by Party City, to first 18,000 in attendance, 14 and younger.

Wednesday, Aug. 17 – Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m.
* CC Sabathia Growth Chart Day, presented by Catch 24 Advertising, to first 10,000 Guests in attendance, 14 and younger.

Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at 877-469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at 800-943-4327 and at all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Fans with questions may call 212-YANKEES [926-5337] or email tickets@yankees.com.

For information on parking and public transportation options to the Stadium, please visit http://www.yankees.com and click on the Yankee Stadium tab at the top of the page.

A-Rod finds an RBI in last road game with Yanks

All eyes may have been on Alex Rodriguez Thursday night in his last road game for the Yankees, but it was not until the eighth inning that he did anything worthy of attention. The major league record holder for grand slams with 25 came to the plate with one out and the bases full after an intentional walk to Chase Headley.

Need any more drama? The Yankees had already taken over the lead, 3-2, on a two-run double by Jacoby Ellsbury that originally had been scored a sacrifice fly and an error by rookie left fielder Andrew Benintendi.

Grand slam No. 26 did not come for A-Rod, who hit a dribbler in front of the plate and was thrown out at first base by catcher Sandy Leon. Brett Gardner scampered home from third base on the play for an insurance run that garnered Rodriguez an RBI. The wide grin on Rodriguez’s face in the dugout after the at-bat was evidence enough that he considered a 0-for-4 performance that dropped his season batting average below .200 (.199) to be a success.

The 4-2 final was the second straight comeback victory against Boston’s porous bullpen. The Yankees got next to nowhere again against lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez, who gave up a solo home run to Austin Romine in the third inning and just two other hits with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings. Rodriguez has a 2-5 record with a 5.43 ERA this year but against the Yanks is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings. His career mark against the Yankees is 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA, including 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA at Fenway Park.

The Yankees could not wait to feast on reliever Brad Ziegler and loaded the bases on singles by Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks and Gardner before Ellsbury’s one-out liner to left eluded Benintendi, who appeared to have lost the ball in the lights. It was another big night against Boston’s relief corps for the Yanks, who scored 11 runs with 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings (17.47 ERA) the past two nights.

Meanwhile, the Yankees followed a night when eight relievers were used with three shutout innings combined from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre call-up Luis Sessa and Dellin Betances (third save). Sessa was especially impressive with two perfect innings containing two strikeouts.

Betances did a wire act in the ninth. He gave up a one-out double to Leon, who battered the Yankees in the series (6-for-10, two doubles and a triple) and walked Benintendi before getting it together and striking out Dustin Pedroia and Zander Bogaerts.

So now it is back to Yankee Stadium for a weekend of tributes beginning Friday night with Rodriguez’s farewell in pinstripes. By taking two of three at Fenway to move to 3 1/2 games of the second wild-card slot, the Yankees have shown they are not ready to bid farewell to the season.

Sanchez’s big night justifies Girardi’s decision

The Alex Rodriguez apologists in the media got all over Yankees manager Joe Girardi for not starting the soon-to-be-released designated hitter Wednesday night at Fenway Park against Red Sox lefthander Drew Pomeranz.

Girardi simply felt the Yankees had a better chance with rookie Gary Sanchez in the DH spot. So was the skipper wrong? All Sanchez did was get four hits, including his first major league home run, to help fortify a Yankees’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit for a startling 9-4 victory in a nine-inning marathon that took four hours and 15 minutes to complete due primarily to 13 pitching changes combined for both teams.

A-Rod did get an at-bat in the turnaround inning for the Yanks, the five-run seventh that included a hit and a run scored by Sanchez. Rodriguez batted for Aaron Hicks with two on and none out and the Yankees down by two runs. A-Rod flied out to deep right field with Sanchez crossing to third base. A strikeout of Brett Gardner appeared to put a stake in the heart of the rally, but RBI singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley and a clutch, two-run double by Starlin Castro thrust the Yankees into the lead.

They added three runs in the eighth with Sanchez leading off with a bomb to center field. The other two runs scored on two of reliever Robbie Ross’ three wild pitches.

On the negative side for the Yanks, starter Nathan Eovaldi had to come out of the game after one inning because of right elbow soreness, which forced Girardi to go deep into his bullpen using seven relievers.

With Eovaldi out of the game, the official scorer has the discretion of awarding the winning decision to an effective reliever and chose Tyler Clippard, who allowed four base runners (three hits and one intentional walk) but no runs. My choice would have been Adam Warren, who set down the six batters he faced with two strikeouts.

With all the moves the Yankees have made this month, Warren has been somewhat overlooked. He went to the Cubs over the winter in the Castro trade and was reacquired last month in the deal that sent Aroldis Chapman to Wrigleyville. Since his return to the Yankees, Warren has retired 26 of 32 batters in nine scoreless innings during which he has yielded four hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.

A-Rod watchers will be happy to see that Boston’s change in a starting pitcher from previously-scheduled knuckleballer Steven Wright to Eduardo Rodriguez Thursday night did not change the manager’s mind about the DH spot. A-Rod will be in their against E-Rod (no relation). The computer did not work against A-Rod, either. He entered the game a .385 career hitter with a double and a home run in 13 at-bats against his namesake. Sanchez was also in the starting lineup behind the plate with fellow catcher Austin Romine at first base giving a breather to Mark Teixeira.

As for Friday night at Yankee Stadium against the Rays to open a six-game homestand when Rodriguez will play his final game for the Yankees he will again be the DH. Rodriguez told a radio audience Friday that his request to play third base one last time was rejected by Girardi.

Who can blame the manager? Rodriguez has not worn a glove on the field since May 23 last year when he played one inning at first base in a 15-4 loss to the Rangers at the Stadium. A-Rod’s most recent game at third base was May 19 last year for three innings in an 8-6, 10-inning loss at Washington.

Girardi managing whole team, not just A-Rod

Did anyone really expect Alex Rodriguez to be in the starting lineup Tuesday night at Fenway Park? Sure, manager Joe Girardi said Sunday after A-Rod’s announcement that Friday night would be his last game with the Yankees that he would talk to him and “play him as often as he wants,” but he had to back off that for the overall good of the team.

As it is, promising Rodriguez at least one start in the three-game series, Thursday night against knuckleballer Steven Wright, is more than A-Rod could have expected. If the Yankees want to make a serious run at the second wild card berth, they will have to hop over several clubs, and one of them is Boston. A player is supposed to earn his way into a lineup, and Rodriguez’s 3-for-30 showing in the second half is all the evidence anyone needs as to why he played himself onto the bench.

The computer got Rodriguez Tuesday night. He is 3-for-20 (.150) in his career against Boston starter Rick Porcello. The righthander had pitched complete games in each of his previous two starts, a rarity these days. Red Sox manager John Farrell might have been wise to let Porcello go for another compete game rather than turn to Craig Kimbrel, who was so wild that he nearly blew the game.

Kimbrel walked four batters in the inning that led to a run and kept the bases loaded with two out. Matt Barnes had to be summoned to face Mark Teixeira, who ended the rally when he looked at a third strike.

In A-Rod’s former designated hitter role was Brian McCann as the Yankees got another look at Gary Sanchez behind the plate. He had a rough night at the plate (0-for-4) but was nimble behind it and threw out another base runner.

McCann got a key, two-out single in the third inning that scored Brett Gardner, who reached base four times (double, two singles, walk) as the Yanks built a 2-0 lead against Porcello (15-3). They had scored in the second inning as well on doubles by Starlin Castro and Chase Headley.

Making his first major league start since May 13 following three impressive relief outings in which he allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings (1.08 ERA), Luis Severino gave up the lead in losing a nine-pitch at-bat to Dustin Pedroia. After fouling off five straight pitches, Pedroia lined a double down the right field line to knock in the trying runs.

More extra-base hits were to come in the fifth as the Red Sox scored three runs in a triple by catcher Sandy Leon, a double by rookie Andrew Benintendi and another double by Pedroia. Newly signed lefthander Tommy Layne relieved Severino and allowed an RBI single to David Ortiz.

Until the meltdown by Kimbrel, there were no openings to use Rodriguez perhaps as a pinch hitter. Reports questioned why Girardi did not have A-Rod bat form Aaron Hicks, who was 0-for-3 when he batted in the ninth and drew the second walk off Kimbrel.

Will this ever end? Yes. Finally, Friday.

Teixeira not tempted to change his mind

Could a game like Sunday’s give Mark Teixeira second thoughts about retiring?

Nope.

The first baseman reiterated his stance from last week that he will step away from the game as a player at the end of the season.

“I love playing first base, but every year it gets tougher and tougher,” Teixeira said after the Yankees’ 3-2 victory over the Indians. “I only have a few of those [games] left.”

Perhaps it is his conscience being eased at making what he feels is the right decision, but Teixeira has appeared more comfortable in recent days than he has in recent years. Sunday, he was a central figure in a victory that unfortunately took second fiddle to the other slice of news, that Alex Rodriguez will end his playing career after Friday’s game when the Yankees return to Yankee Stadium for a weekend series against the Rays following a brief trip to Boston.

Teixeira drove in what proved the deciding run with an opposite-field double to left batting left-handed in the fifth inning. A more startling contribution came in the seventh when he beat speedy Francisco Lindor to first base with both sliding into the bag for the final out that prevented the Tribe from tying the score.

The Indians scored their first run in that inning and had runners on first and second with two out when Lindor hit a smoking grounder down the first base line. Teixeira gobbled it up, but reliever Adam Warren broke late for the bag and could not cover in time to beat Lindor. That was left to Teixeira, who got to his feet, hastened to the bag and then dived for it with his glove extended that hit the base seconds before the outstretched hand of an equalling diving Lindor.

“The first thing on a play like that is to make sure the ball doesn’t get down the line,” Teixeira said. “It would be two runs if that happens. I was hoping to flip it to Adam, but he wasn’t there. I knew I would have to dive because Lindor was coming down the line at full steam while I was starting from scratch.”

It was the type of play that demonstrated why Teixeira won three Gold Gloves for fielding during his exemplary career. The Indians made it a one-run game with a run in the eighth on a wild pitch by Dellin Betances, who atoned for that by earning his second save.

Masahiro Tanaka (8-4) pitched into the seventh and allowed six hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in what manager Joe Girardi called his best game of the season. “To shut down a team that beat him up badly the last time out was impressive,” Girardi said.

Brett Gardner opened the game for the Yankees with a triple off Carlos Carrasco (7-6) and scored on a sacrifice fly. Gardy tied Jake for the team lead with five triples, including three in his past six games. It was Gardner’s third leadoff triple this year, all in the past 18 games. No other major league team has more than two.

Didi Gregorius made the score 2-0 in the fourth with his 13th home run to put a nice touch on Didi Gregorius Bobblehead Day.

One weird sight came in the third when Ellsbury, on first base with a walk, kept running around the bases as Teixeira lifted a foul pop behind third and into a double play. So what happened?

“I asked him about it, and his answer might be stranger than why he kept going,” Girardi said. “It was a first for me. Put it down to a brain cramp.”

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