As we all know, Alex Rodriguez is coming off his 2014 season-long suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal and, as expected, he has garnered quite a bit of attention this spring. The surprising thing however is that the attention he has generated has been for what he's done on the field, not off the field. There has been little coverage of all the nonsense from over the past 15 months or so and quite a bit regarding his success over the last month. So, is the nearly 40 year old ARod back or is it just a fluke?
Let me start by saying that most of my respect for Alex went out the window after all the crap he pulled with the denying and lawsuits and grievances and all that horse play. But Alex eventually tried to take the high road and stopped all the nonsense and dropped the suits and decided to quietly serve out his suspension. For that I commend him. It was sure late, but it was the right move. Now we are here in 2015 and I’m intrigued by what I’ve seen so far.
In 2013, ARod was dealing with lingering hip issues that eventually required surgery and caused him to be just a fraction of the ARod baseball was accustomed to seeing. Now nearly 18 months later, Rodriguez is seemingly healthy and well rested and appears ready for the season. So maybe a year off, after playing professional baseball all year for two decades, may have been just what the body needed… Maybe.
So far this spring, Rodriguez is batting .324, going 12-37. Now, that batting average can be deceiving, but Rodriguez has also launched a team leading three home runs, including this one that shut this obnoxious Red Sox fan up!
One thing that many scouts and analysts were concerned about as Rodriguez attempted a comeback from the year off was his ability to turn around Major League fastballs. Pitchers are going to pound hard stuff in on Alex and make him prove he can turn on a fastball. While he has, as has been the case over the last three or so years he was healthy, gotten beat by fastballs in, he has only struck out seven times on the spring which is pretty solid considering he hasn't had an at bat against big league competition in almost 18 months. Another good sign is he is tied for second on the team in walks with six, making his strikeout to walk ratio nearly one-to-one, all very positive signs. His OPS is also a very respectable .988.
While I’m still not going to go buy myself an ARod jersey or t-shirt and root him on like he is a long lost relative returning to joy and jubilation, ARod is still a Yankee and we are all Yankees fans. So we are going to have to cheer on the Yankees and cheer on Alex to help our Bronx Bombers make it back to October. While he will surely frustrate us and we will all yell four letter words at him over the season, he is part of the team, the locker room and the Yankee family. You know, kind of like the red headed step child, but still family.
So with Rodriguez reporting to camp healthy, quietly (a little too quietly as he pissed off the Yankees brass by showing up early unannounced) and with a chip on his shoulder, it seems like the Yankees will have a useful body out of him. At the very least that’s what they need, especially as Hal Steinbrenner signs his absurd paycheck on pay day. At the most the Yankees can hope for an everyday DH, fill in third baseman and veteran clubhouse presence who can hopefully provide 20 home runs, 75 or so RBI and stay healthy enough to be in the lineup for 130 games or so.
You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store! Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook! Also, don't forget to check out the BYB Hub!