Monday, August 5, 2013

EXTRA: Rodriguez can play (for now); boo-birds to unleash their lung power

It seems that Alex Rodriguez will be available to play the next few games against the Chicago White Sox.

While Major League Baseball announced a series of suspensions against a dozen ballplayers for links to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic (to try to use performance-enhancing drugs), it seems that Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is determined to fight the allegations.

A DOZEN BALLPLAYERS on Monday were told they were being suspended for the rest of the season, and they all are accepting the penalty without a fight. No one from the White Sox or the Chicago Cubs were on that list.

Not that it matters much, with as bad as both ball clubs are playing this season.

But the belief among many baseball people is that Rodriguez not only used substances to artificially bolster his strength, but also tried to cover up his involvement.

Nothing has definitively been proved, but Rodriguez on Monday was suspended for the rest of this season, the playoffs and all of next season. For a ballplayer on the decline who’s already 38, that could be the equivalent of a lifetime ban.

SINCE IT COULD throw his routine off that he’s never able to play at a competitive level again.

But Rodriguez, who got that major contract (he is the $25-30 million-a-year man) a decade ago, with an extension that should keep him paid for another four seasons, wants his money. That’s why he wants to challenge the penalty – and why he will want to take the playing field at U.S. Cellular Field come Monday.

Which will be interesting because Rodriguez was among the many key players who have suffered injuries this season – derailing the Yankees’ own desires to win a championship this season.

Monday will be Rodriguez’ first major league game of 2013. The national attention circulating around 35th and Shields will be intense – crews were set up at the ballpark by noon.

EVEN THOUGH BALLPLAYERS themselves hadn’t shown up yet!

So Rodriguez will be on hand, and the White Sox hecklers will vent their rage – which will make the South Side an ugly place to be through Wednesday. Moreso than the usual Yankee-hatred that crops up around the American League's cities.

Particularly since it also seems that Yankees star Derek Jeter won’t be on hand for this week’s series in Chicago. He’s another key player who has been out with injuries, and he was diagnosed this weekend with a Grade 1 strain of his right calf.

So much for seeing Jeter in Chicago. The on-field highlight may well be the return of Alfonso Soriano to the Second City.


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