Unfortunately for Alex Rodriguez, a return to Yankee Stadium would not lead to a warmer reception than what he received on the road in Chicago. In Friday night's game against the Detroit Tigers, the hometown fans made it clear that it will be a long road to forgiveness for the embattled third baseman.
Taking the plate with two outs in the bottom of the first and Ichiro Suzuki in scoring position, Rodriguez heard an overwhelming chorus of boos from the capacity crowd. The situation was not unlike the one he faced against the White Sox, with his introduction feeling more like that of a reviled opposing player than the return of one of the club's best hitters.
That said, not everyone wanted to spend their night giving out catcalls to the home team. Joel Sherman of the New York Post also noted the presence of a vocal minority—fans who stood and defiantly applauded Rodriguez when he came to the plate:
What's interesting to me is not boo/cheer mix for A-Rod, but how many stood and cheered for him to welcome 1st AB #Yankees— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 10, 2013
Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello needed only five pitches to send Rodriguez back to the dugout, though, with the third baseman flailing at a third strike. At that point, it was unanimous:
Since making his return earlier this week against the White Sox, the 14-time All-Star spoke glowingly of the Yankees Stadium faithful.
Rodriguez is in his fourth game back in the lineup, having spent the majority of the season on the disabled list. The Yankees slugger underwent surgery in January to repair an ailing left hip—one that bothered him throughout the 2012 postseason.
While recovering, however, news broke of Rodriguez's involvement with Biogenesis, a Miami-based health clinic. Biogenesis proprietor Tony Bosch is said to have provided him with performance-enhancing drugs during his time with the Yankees, leading to a subsequent investigation by Major League Baseball.
Amid rumors of a possible lifetime ban, the commissioner's office finally laid down a 211-game suspension at Rodriguez's feet for his involvement. His was by far the longest of any player involved with the scandal, as most chose to take a 50-game ban in striking a plea deal with MLB.
Rodriguez has since appealed the suspension and is thus allowed to play while the ruling is undergoing arbitration. The process, though it may be expedited, could allow Rodriguez to play the remainder of the 2013 season. He's also declined to comment in detail or deny the allegations laid out by MLB.
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