Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yankees players will welcome A-Rod back says ex-teammate: Report

Love him or hate him, Alex Rodriquez will be back with the New York Yankees next season and, if you believe ex-teammate David Phelps, the team will be more than happy to see old A-Rod.

According to Phelps, in a report from the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand, the disgraced slugger's transition back into pinstripes may go smoother than first imagined.

At least in the locker room:

“One thing that starts all at the top with (manager Joe Girardi) and goes all the way to the bottom is that the team is a family,” Phelps said. “The issue isn’t going to be player-to-player or coach-to-player. The circus is going to be what’s portrayed in the media, but that’s New York.

“It’s something you have to get used to playing there. I don’t think there’s going to be an issue between the players. He’s going to want to come back and help them win a championship.”

The Yankees dealt Phelps, Martin Prado and cash considerations to the Marlins on Friday, receiving Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German from Miami. Phelps, who went 15-14 with a 4.21 ERA during the past three seasons, serving as a swingman between the rotation and bullpen.

Phelps credited A-Rod with helping him make the transition to the big leagues back in 2012, going so far as to say:

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today," he said. "He’s an incredible teammate who went out of his way early in my career to help me out. My first couple outings, I’d be in the dugout or in the clubhouse and he would come over and pick my brain; things like, ‘Why did you throw this pitch in this situation?’” he said.  “Even when we were rehabbing in Trenton a couple years ago, he pulled me over and we talked about the business side of the game, protecting players’ rights, that kind of stuff. He’s incredibly intelligent on the field and with the business side of baseball. He has a lot to offer younger players.”

All good and well for Phelps but it remains to be seen where the soon to be 40-year-old A-Rod will fit in with the Yankees on next season's roster. Mixed signals sent from manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman — combined with some off-season moves — have Rodriguez anywhere from platooning at first and third all the way to warming the bench as a DH.

Spring training starts in a couple of months. It'll be fun to see where the $61 million pariah ends up.

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