Class-A move: A-Rod buys dinners
Maybe, Alex Rodriguez's bad rap is overblown.
A-Rod, who spent part of his career attracting heavy criticism for how he conducts himself around the media and fellow players — displayed some goodwill during his rehab stint in South Carolina.
Rodriguez went hitless in his two games for the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday and Wednesday, but his Class-A teammates were lauding his presence.
Rodriguez paid for the team meal the two nights he played, including steak dinners from Outback one evening, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported. A-Rod also spent time mentoring players before a game.
“It was a great experience to talk to someone of his stature in the game, one of the all-time greats to ever play baseball,” Charleston first baseman Greg Bird said. “What he’s gone through is a great experience for us. ... We’d love to have him come back.”
Perhaps the most telling part of what Bird told USA Today was a comment about Rodriguez’s professionalism.
“He taught us the consistency of a routine, how it starts the night before a game, all of the way to what he eats for breakfast, lunch, and gets ready for a game,” Bird said.
Presumably, steak is part of any winning diet. Nightengale tweeted that Rodriguez will be “greatly missed” by his teammates after shelling out for the meals.
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Until then, A-Rod will head to Florida this weekend to get in some at-bats for the Class-A Tampa Yankees. Then he's expected to see some game action with Double-A Trenton (NJ) and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) over the next three weeks. Returning to Charleston is not out of the question either.
As for his two games with the RiverDogs, A-Rod grounded out three times and struck out once in four at-bats. The third baseman told USA Today he’s not going to focus on the results until he gets more looks at the plate. Rodriguez did give a little credit to one of the opposing pitchers, Mauricio Cabrera, who pumped a 101-mph fastball past Rodriguez to start an at-bat.
“The good news for me is I didn’t hit 101 before hip surgery,” Rodriguez said. “The kid was throwing gas.
“It’s a process. I’m most interested to see how my body reacts in back-to-back games. I felt good. To me, that’s the barometer I’m looking for, to come back-to-back games. I don’t mind if I save all my hits for New York.”
Maybe he’ll save some dinner money, too.