After weeks of speculation over whether Alex Rodriguez would ever play in a major league game again, the New York Yankees third baseman is set to make his season debut Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Girardi: A-Rod will be in lineup Monday if active http://t.co/7yI8kZ71Wf— Baseball News (@baseballupdate) August 5, 2013
Kevin Davidoff and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that A-Rod will be suspended by commissioner Bud Selig for the remainder of this season and for the entire 2014 season.
Rodriguez, however, will still be able to play because he can appeal the suspension according to the terms of MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement.
Alex Rodriguez plans to appeal 214-game suspension and play for Yankees tonight - http://t.co/YdtDS4Dd8G "It's going to be a circus."— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) August 5, 2013
Though his return will bring many distractions for the Yankees, there is no doubting that having his bat in the lineup will help the team.
Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi told Bryan Hoch of Yankees.com that he has “penciled” Rodriguez into Monday’s lineup, where he’ll immediately be an upgrade for the struggling team.
Yankees’ third basemen have hit just four home runs this year, a total A-Rod will surely add to if he is able to play with the team for any extended amount of time.
The fact that Rodriguez provides power from the right-hand side is very important for the club, too.
Vernon Wells leads right-handed batters on the team with 10 home runs, but has not homered since May 16.
Rodriguez hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the ball during his minor league rehab stint, but he does have three homers in just 15 games.
That he walked four times in his final rehab game in Double-A Trenton shows that he’s seeing the ball well, too.
Even though he’s a shell of the player he once was, the much-maligned slugger had 18 home runs in 122 games last season and will bring much needed power to a team that hasn’t scored more than six runs in a game since July 21.