Monday, March 7, 2011

Rodriguez Lifts Off; Cueto Sharpens Up for Reds

Players of the Day for Sunday, March 6, 2010

American League

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the Spring, and the NY Yankees punished seven Houston pitchers for 21 hits in a 10-8 Yankee win. The Houston hurlers must have been getting the ball over the plate, because, despite recording seven strikeouts, they did not walk a single batter.

A-Rod returns for his 8th season in pinstripes, surpassing the seven years he spent with Seattle, where he began his MLB career. Rodriguez spent three seasons as a Texas Ranger before joining the Yankees.

Rodriguez returns off a pair of 30-home run seasons, and has lost time to injuries in each of the past three campaigns. He played in 137 games last year. Turning 36 this year, Rodriguez is the leading active player in home runs and RBI, with 613 and 1831, respectively.

Currently 6th on the all-time career home run list, he should top recently-retired Ken Griffey Jr.'s 630 homers and is 47 behind Willie Mays, at 660. Rodriguez finished 1 RBI better than Manny Ramirez in RBIs all-time and should surpass many great ones this season, including Griffey, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Dave Winfield and Mel Ott. Willie Mays is 1oth on the list at 1903. Rodriguez is currently #17.

National League

Johnny Cueto
Johnny Cueto gave up just one hit and a walk over three innings and the next five Cincinnati pitchers - all working an inning each - no-hit the Cubs in a 10-0 Reds' whitewash.

Donnie Joseph, the final Reds pitcher, allowed a hit and a walk in the 9th, but fanned two batters to preserve the shutout.

Cueto, who was 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA last season, was one of the reasons the Reds captured the Central Division and is expected to remain a solid force in the Cincinnati rotation this season.

The latest work was an improvement for Cueto. In his first start, over three innings he only allowed two hits, but both of them were home runs.

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