A-Rod to visit Vail doctor Wednesday
VAIL, Colorado – The Silver Slugger winners parading to the plate made the Dominican Republic look pretty potent in its first game Tuesday, and Alex Rodriguez did his part.
Whether Rodriguez will be available for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, however, is uncertain.
Hours after Rodriguez doubled and scored in a six-run fifth inning during a 10-1 win over the Florida Marlins, it was announced the All-Star third baseman needed to get his ailing hip examined.
Tests over the weekend revealed Rodriguez has a cyst in his right hip. The New York Yankees star will meet with hip specialist Dr. Marc Phillipon in Vail, Colo., on Wednesday.
Rodriguez went 1-for-3 and came out of the game after 4∏ innings.
“It was fun being out there for the first game,” Rodriguez said, without mentioning the hip ailment. “A lot of energy, and I like our team. These guys are family. They’ve been together since they were in the minor leagues. They’re all like brothers. It’s nice for me to come in and try to jell as much as I can. So far, so good.”
The Dominicans will play their first WBC game Saturday in Puerto Rico against the Netherlands. Players on their roster have won a combined 21 Silver Sluggers, the most of any team in the tournament.
“We have a pretty good team here,” manager Felipe Alou said. “It’s a well-balanced team.”
Cleanup hitter Rodriguez has been the focal point in more ways than one, but the tempest surrounding him the past 3∏ weeks has abated. During his eight-minute postgame news conference, the only questions about performance enhancement had to do with how Rodriguez would benefit from the players batting around him in the lineup.
With a logjam at shortstop, Alou had Jose Reyes lead off and play in the field, while Hanley Ramirez batted third as the designated hitter. Each contributed two hits.
“I’m jealous of those guys,” said Rodriguez, a forme r shortstop. “Their talent is unbelievable. I’m an enormous fan of both of them.”
Reyes scored twice and stole a base. Rodriguez smiled when asked about the way the Mets star runs the bases and said the Yankees could use that speed.
“I wish he was leading off on our team and playing on our team,” Rodriguez said. “That’s fun to watch, any time you have that type of speed. We have a guy in (Brett) Gardner. That’ll be fun. That’s probably the most fun you can have – watching a guy like that run.”
Rodriguez scored from second base on a pinch-hit single by Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. They’re AL East rivals but have been friendly since both played in the Mariners organization, and Rodriguez said Ortiz has been especially supportive lately.
“David is my brother,” Rodriguez said. “I consider him a true friend – lots of phone calls, lots of e-mails, lots of texts. He always has a big smile and a hug waiting for you.”
Jose Bautista went 4-for-6 and drove i n two runs, and Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz had two hits apiece. Edinson Volquez, who will start the team’s first game in the WBC, pitched two innings and gave up a solo homer to Jeremy Hermida.
Ramirez, facing his Marlins teammates, was robbed in the third inning when he hit a liner and second baseman Dan Uggla made a leaping catch. Ramirez saluted his keystone partner with three fist pumps toward second base as he walked to the dugout.
“It was weird being out in the field when he was hitting,” Uggla said. “I don’t like it.”
Ramirez singled twice and said he enjoys batting in front of Rodriguez.
“Oh man, a lot of fastballs,” Ramirez said. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Rodriguez received a rousing ovation – and a few jeers – when he stepped to the plate in the first inning. Announced attendance was only 3,611, but back home they’re excited about Rodriguez and the rest of the Dominican team.
“We’re a country where pretty much everybody f o llows baseball,” Ortiz said. “You go to the hospital and see brand new babies, and they’re already thinking about baseball.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.