A-Rod Is Sent to Bench for Fatigue (or the Vapors)

Alex Rodriguez, in the midst of a spectacularly bad 2009, has been pulled from the starting lineup for at least two games due to fatigue by Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner (and not Joe Girardi).  Rodriguez finally agreed to the forced sabbatical after a phone call-née-intervention involving Cashman, Steinbrenner, Rodriguez’s doctors, his Aunt Ginny, and Tyra Banks (but not Joe Girardi).

Alex Rodriguez and Kate Hudson

(Now why would Alex Rodriguez, a healthy and extraordinarily fit young man, grow tired easily in Miami? It’s a mystery.)

After each person tearfully told Alex how much he was hurting the Yankees family by playing through the fatigue and how much they loved him, A-Rod finally admitted that he’s “bone tired” and will take a few days off, despite playing this weekend in Miami near family. Sez Alex: “I’ll call my mom and tell her to save the gas money.” Too bad she doesn’t know anyone who can kick in a few bucks. (Like Joe Girardi?)

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How Convenient For Yankees — Wang Is “Injured”

I missed this when the news first came out on Friday, but it appears that the Yankees have finally invented a reason to put struggling starter Chien-Ming Wang on the disabled list to prevent further embarrassment (and the possibility of losing him to a waiver claim if they tried to send himd own). Wang, as you may know, has allowed 23 earned runs in 6 innings this season.

chien-ming wang

And what, nobody is questioning this at all? Joe Girardi contended — nay, insisted — after Wang’s latest disaster last weekend against the Indians that the pitcher wasn’t injured, which led to much consternation within the organization as to what exactly they could do with him. Now, all of a sudden, he’s been diagnosed by A-Rod’s rehab doctor in Florida with “weak abductor muscles in his hips,” which is apparently enough to allow the team to put him on the DL.

Look, I understand that this stuff probably goes on a lot, but is there anyone on MLB’s end that makes sure a guy is really hurt?

Are you buying that Chien-Ming Wang is really hurt?

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Speed Read: What’s Going On With A-Rod’s Hip?

So, here’s what we know: Alex Rodriguez is hurt. Beyond that, we know nothing. From what I hear, he could be out for anywhere from an hour to seven years. What’s really going on is so elusive that A-Rod’s brother was being used as the definitive source on his injury for the first half of Thursday. One SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE writer is saying that the “mystery” surrounding the injury is reminiscent of Barry Bonds‘ knee troubles in 2005.

Alex Rodriguez

Now, instead of surgery that would keep him out for 10 weeks (which was the brother’s story), Brian Cashman is saying that the Yankees are planning on taking a “conservative approach” to the injury, which involves a bunch of rest and rehab with the hopes that surgery won’t be necessary. But how long do you go with that? Cashman admitted that the surgery would probably keep A-Rod out for four months. But if they try this rehab thing for another few weeks, then are stuck with the surgery, suddenly he’s looking at no earlier than mid-to-late August for a return. But, as we all know, if A-Rod’s going to miss four months, it’s much better for all involved that it’s the last four.

NEWSDAY even says that the surgery A-Rod would likely undergo isn’t guaranteed to work:

Dr. Louis Romeo, director of the Joint Replacement Center at Stony Brook University Medical Center, said the surgery to treat an ailment of A-Rod’s type - probably a procedure called a hip arthroscopy - is not the most predictable procedure.

“It’s controversial because the results are not as predictable as you’d like them to be,” said Romeo, who is not involved in the Yankees third baseman’s treatment. “A knee replacement or a hip replacement, you can give someone a 90 percent success rate. Hip arthroscopy, depending on the underlying pathology, may not have as high a success rate.”

A-Rod guitar

(Yeah, I suppose you could go the Bernie Williams route, Alex)

The NCAA tournament bubble is much larger than usual (I mean, Northwestern is now in play, for crap’s sake), which makes every night crucial in college hoops. Last night, Providence took a hit by losing big at Villanova, and Arizona took a big step backward by losing to California at home (the Bears, meanwhile, probably have moved to “lock” status). Tennessee also solidified a likely bid by locking up the SEC East at South Carolina, which suddenly looks vulnerable.

Bruce Pearl Hotties

(I’m taking advantage of any excuse to run these pictures of Bruce Pearl)

Sean Avery made his return to ice last night in the Rangers’ win over the Islanders. Fortunately, Mike Comrie was recently traded away from the Islanders so Avery didn’t have a chance to get it any Hilary Duff-related blasts. Avery was actually well-behaved, and it seems as if he may be content to fly under the radar for the rest of the year. Mostly, Avery’s just glad to be back in New York so he can go to the Project Runway finale.

Sean Avery

Ichiro is apparently depressed about the 0-for-16 slump he’s in right now, and uttered this classic line in a REUTERS story about it:

“It’s depressing,” Suzuki told Japanese media on Friday. “After the game I got picked for a doping test — things are going from bad to worse.”

• Now that A-Rod may be out for a while, the Yankees need to find someone to play third base in the interim. Cody Ransom? Angel Berroa? The NEW YORK POST thinks the team might want to consider some outside options. Like Aaron Boone, apparently.

• FANIQ has the pictures from Anna Kournikova’s latest advertising shoot for K-Swiss. Didn’t she used to play a sport? Badminton or something?

Anna Kournikova

• Fuzzy math time! A lawmaker in North Carolina wants to completely ban athletics at schools where more than half of the students score below the 50th percentile on end-of-year tests for two straight years. But, don’t half the students by definition score below the 50th percentile? Isn’t that what “50th percentile” means? And don’t athletes already have minimum standards for playing?

• A dad at the Iowa state 5th-grade girl’s basketball tournament set some sort of record when he got tossed from a game by the ref just 30 seconds into the game, according to the DES MOINES REGISTER. And yes, I have the same question you do: there’s a state tournament for 5th grade girls?

• Remember last year, when Drake was one of the best stories in college basketball and ended up with a 5 seed, but then was heartbroken on a buzzer beater by Western Kentucky? Yeah, they never quite got over that. They lost to Indiana State in the first round of the MVC tournament last night and are likely not headed to the postseason.

• Some good news from COLONIAL HOOPS: It looks like one of the greatest names in the NBA, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, is going to sign with Toronto for the rest of the year. Pops just wrapped up a 10-day contract with the Spurs, after playing for their D-league team most of the year.

• The NBA shot of the night comes from the Nuggets’ J.R. Smith, who nailed a (nearly) half-court shot at the end of the first half against Portland. Unfortunately, it was all a big hoax perpetrated by one of his friends.

• Need more proof that we’re in a recession? The MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL says Miller Park is implementing a $1 menu at their concession stands. You’re only going to get one peanut, but hey, it’s something.

• The University of Alabama has admitted to a number of NCAA violations…regarding the distribution of textbooks. So, athletes get too many textbooks and that’s a problem? Shouldn’t we be thrilled they’re bothering to get any? CBS SPORTSLINE has the horrifying details. Certainly, ‘Bama deserves the death penalty for this.

How much of the regular season is A-Rod going to miss with his hip injury?

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T.O.’s Latest Tirade: Romo OK, Keyshawn’s Crap

Don’t forget - we’re live blogging tonight’s Angels-Red Sox game at 10 pm ET.

Terrell Owens trades the object of his irritation from Tony Romo to Keyshawn Johnson.

Tony Romo Terrell Owens Keyshawn Johnson

• Guess blackouts do work, after all. Just ask the White Sox and Middle Tennessee State. But don’t ask Georgia.

Ty Willingham likes his Huskies’ chances this year. Um, should someone tell him Washington is 0-4 already?

• For a 3rd place finish in the AL East, Yankees GM Brian Cashman is awarded with a new three-year, $6 million deal.

• Always wondered what’s written on those NFL QB wristbands? The Boston Globe finds out - and wishes they didn’t.

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Yankees GM Cashes In With New 3-Year Extension

The New York Yankees are out of the MLB postseason for the first time since 1993. (Hopefully TBS has fixed its ads by now.) So, what do you do with the man who help put together such an underachieving team? Sign him to a three-year extension, of course!

Brian Cashman

Kat O’Brien of NEW YORK NEWSDAY reports that Brian Cashman has inked a new deal that will keep him as Yanks’ GM until 2011. Although terms were not immediately released, Cashman’s new contract is reportedly worth about $6 million - or about 2 innings’ worth of work for A-Rod.

Not bad for a 3rd place finish in the AL East. Cashman had considered moving his managerial talents elsewhere, such as Seattle. But O’Brien lists some of the reasons why Brian chose to remain in the Bronx:

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Speed Read: Blackouts Two For Two On Tuesday

With all apologies to the folks at the Cell for the Sox-Twins game, the real blackout on Tuesday night took place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Middle Tennessee Blue Raider fans ignored the color suggestion provided by their nickname and donned the darkest color of them all in a show of solidarity. The Raiders, wearing black unis for the first time ever, responded by delivering a 14-13 win over Florida Atlantic on a crazy, last-second Hail Mary that sent the crowd of nearly 26,000 into a frenzy. On a 4th-and-8 play, QB Joe Craddock heaved one into the endzone on what ended up being the last play of the game, and MTSU’s Malcolm Beyah pulled it down amidst a sea of, uhhh, mostly other teammates of his. Nice prevent D, there, FAU.

Middle Tennessee hail mary

And yes, the White Sox finally got their chance to celebrate with the champagne and all that. Most exciting about the Sox’ first postseason appearance since they won it all in 2005 is that we can finally get a little bit of this guy back in our life:

As you may remember, Steve Perry was adopted as an unofficial mascot by the 2005 Sox after they chose “Don’t Stop Believin’” as their theme song on their “journey” to the World Series title. They even had Perry celebrate with them in the clubhouse after all of the big wins. But, from what I understand, Tampa has Kevin Costner writing its playoff song this year. I don’t know if Perry can hang with the immensely relevant powerhouse that carried Swing Vote to box office records.

Kevin Costner

In other baseball news, Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge are your comeback players of the year. Lee went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA this season and the Indians were nowhere close to making the playoffs. Last year, he was a crappy 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and his team came within one game of the World Series. Go figure. Lidge’s career was nearly destroyed by Albert Pujols in 2005, but he bounced back to go 41-for-41 on saves this year.

Speaking of the Phillies, Pat Burrell tweaked his back during batting practice yesterday and his status is unknown going into today’s playoff opener against the Brewers. The Phils are trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s NLDS disaster, when they fell flat on their face and didn’t win a game against the Rockies.

Not satisfied to watch their cross-town rivals sign their GM to an extension after missing the playoffs, the Yankees followed suit by extending Brian Cashman for three years. Now Cashman gets to deal with having like 17 guys who can’t do anything but play a crappy first base.

Today is a bittersweet day for baseball fans across America. Sure, it’s awesome that the playoffs are finally here, but the Frank TV promos are just getting fired up. You know, without the writers’ strike this show would’ve gotten its fair chance to die last year.

Now, without further ado:

Maria Sharapova

  • Maria Sharapova isn’t playing tennis these days, so the only way to sneak in gratuitous photos of her is to talk about who she’s dating. BITTEN AND BOUND says the lucky dude is Charlie Ebersol, son of NBC Sports lord Dick Ebersol and Kate from Kate & Allie.
  • Not to be outdone by Jason Williams‘ retirement announcement, Jayson Williams is back in the news because one of the investigators in his manslaughter case used a racial slur, according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS. Naturally, the slur caused him retroactively to shoot his limo driver.

What Journey song will be the White Sox’ playoff theme this year?

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Lil’ Steinbrenner Says Girardi’s Comin’ Back in ‘09

Alex Rodriguez may have given up on the season*, but Lil’ Hank Steinbrenner has faith that the guys who put the Yankees in their current predicament will also turn help things around next year.

Joe Giradi

Obviously, Hank’s old man, George, has a lot to do with New York’s situation, but since he’s family — and more importantly, the reason his son has a job — the fingers are pointing in the general direction of GM Brian Cashman and first-year manager Joe Girardi. But according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, nobody’s getting canned. Not yet, anyway.

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Manny To Play For Yankees To Punish Red Sox?

Yesterday, the BOSTON GLOBE’s Dan Shaughnessy claimed that Major League Baseball was investigating the circumstances of Manny Ramirez’s trade out of Boston. Something about playing at half-speed in recent weeks to force the Red Sox to deal him. (Isn’t half-speed the only way Manny knows how to play?)

Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens

Turns out, the story was bunk, but according to George King of the NEW YORK POST, ManRam has grand plans to exact revenge on the organization that paid him more than $100 million:

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