Sportress of Blogitude

Brian Cashman defends Alex Rodriguez despite awful season

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Reports in recent days have indicated Brian Cashman has no intention of releasing the  struggling Alex Rodriguez. But the New York Yankees general manager took it a step further during a conference call Monday by going to bat for the 40-year-old designated hitter, praising him for his hard work and dedication.

Cashman’s comments concerned both the rumors that the Yankees were considering a possible release of both A-Rod and Mark Teixeira, two struggling veterans who haven’t provided anything close offensively to what the Yankees expected. But specifically speaking about Rodriguez, here’s what Cashman had to say, as transcribed by Big League Stew:

“Say what you want about Alex Rodriguez and the current season he’s having,” Cashman said. “This guy’s coming every day to prepare, bust his tail, do pregame work, put himself in the position to succeed, wait to be called upon, support his teammates.

“We always have decisions we can choose to make, we [have] a direction if we want to go which you’re alluding to [releasing Alex Rodriguez], but that’s something that’s not being considered right now.”

Despite Cashman’s defense of A-Rod, reports indicate he’s been benched for the Yankees’ series against the Houston Astros.

After finding the fountain of youth last season following a one-year suspension when he slashed at .250/.356/.486 with 33 home runs and 86 RBI, Rodriguez’s productivity at the plate this season has nose-dived dramatically. In 224 plate appearances, A-Rod is hitting .206/.256/.364 with nine homers and only 29 RBI.

Interestingly, Cashman publicly going to bat for A-Rod stands in stark contract to how he greeted the slugger returning from suspension before last season. And the fact that the two have enjoyed a frosty relationship at times certainly make Cashman’s comments that much more intriguing.

What’s more, this all comes amid the backdrop of a trade that shipped Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs. Cashman did say Monday that the trade of the flame-throwing closer wasn’t in any way “a white flag.” And reports indicate Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner won’t green-light a fire sale as he hopes the Yankees can still reach the postseason.

What happens going forward obviously remains to be seen, but it appears the Yankees at least have no intent of cutting A-Rod loose.