Hit on purpose? More accusations? Just another Sunday for Alex Rodriguez
Remember on Saturday when the New York Times published an interview with Alex Rodriguez's new lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, in which Tacopina alleged that the Yankees and Major League Baseball were conspiring to end Rodriguez's career and that the Yankees had committed medical malpractice toward that end? That was sooo 24 hours ago.
Yankees team president Randy Levine responded to those allegations by saying that Rodriguez should "put up or shut up." Well, we found out on Sunday, via ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, that Rodriguez's lawyers formally began the grievance process against the Yankees earlier this month by notifying the Players’ Association of their complaints.
We also found out on Sunday, via Outside The Lines' T.J. Quinn and Pedro Gomez, that Rodriguez paid $25,000 in February to put attourney Susy Ribero-Ayala on retainer to defend Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch. In April, Ribero-Ayala received a second wire-transfer of $50,000 from A-Rod Corp, Rodriguez's corporation, but that was identified as a mistake and returned.
Meanwhile, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday night that Rodriguez turned down offers of lesser suspensions from Major League Baseball earlier this year and that a simple 50-game suspension was offered to Rodriguez in April, though MLB denies that was the case.
Finally, in the Yankees' series finale against the Red Sox in Boston, Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster threw at Rodriguez in his first at-bat, hitting him in his second attempt. Rodriguez came around to score that inning, drove in a run on a groundout in his next at-bat, then homered to dead center off Dempster leading off the sixth. He later singled twice as the Yankees went on to win 9-6.
The money spent on Bosch's defense smacks of extortion on Bosch's part, and the grievance and refusal to accept a lesser suspension are consistent with Rodriguez's public claims thus far. I'm more confident that there will be additional new revelations contradicting those interpretations in the coming days than I am in the above shedding any actual light on either the truth or Rodriguez's version of it.
As for Dempster, it's unclear why he thought he, rather than any of the first 24 pitchers to face Rodriguez since his return from the disabled list, should be the guy to make a statement by throwing at the third baseman, but he pulled off the impossible in doing it: he let Rodriguez take the high road. Rodriguez barely reacted to the hit-by-pitch and then let his bat do the talking with a mammoth home run off Dempster that help his team to victory. Finally, on the day that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the press that he no longer feels comfortable speaking to Rodriguez because of the legal action Rodriguez is likely to bring against the team, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected from a game for passionately defending Rodriguez. That about sums it up.