Alex Rodriguez unwilling to relinquish third base to Chase Headley
Alex Rodriguez may have been penciled in as the team’s backup third baseman and designated hitter by the powers-that-be with the New York Yankees, but that does not mean he’s happily going to relinquish his spot in the field without putting up a fight.
Rodriguez, who made waves Monday by showing up to spring training early — much to the reported chagrin of Yankees brass — continued to appear unwilling to play the role of cooperative soldier. When asked if he intends to battle for the starting third baseman job, he indicated that was the case, no matter what the team’s plans are for him.
“I’ve always had that approach, since I was 18,” A-Rod said about his quest to be the team’s starter at the hot corner, via the New York Daily News. “I love to compete.”
The player obviously standing between Rodriguez and the starting third baseman’s job is Chase Headley, who the Yankees signed to a four-year, $52 million contract in December with the assumption he’d be handling the hot corner for years to come.
Rodriguez previously said he reached out to Headley about his return and on Tuesday the two reportedly shared an embrace upon meeting one another on the practice fields. They later reportedly shared a few laughs and played catch, per NJ.com.
General manager Brian Cashman said shortly after signing Headley that the plan going into the season will be that the aging A-Rod will serve as the team’s day-to-day designated hitter, suggesting the Yankees cannot count on him given his absence and how “even before the suspension, he wasn’t the same player at third base on the defensive or offensive side.”
Obviously, the entire situation with the Yankees and Rodriguez is a complete mess. It seems clear that the team would preferred A-Rod to disappear than have to deal daily with the amount of distractions his return from a one-year suspension brings. Making it worse, all appearances indicate he isn’t planning on going quietly into the night. There is no reason to believe that the distractions won’t continue.
A-Rod, despite all the questions about his suspension while he deals with simply getting back on the field, says he feels pretty good about where he’s at right now.
“I think I’m fine, yeah,” Rodriguez said after a workout Tuesday when asked if he’ll change his approach now that he presumably is playing without the use of PEDs. “But only time will tell.”
Ain’t that the truth.
(photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)