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Alex Rodriguez, Akinori Iwamura and the 2012 All-Star Game

Alex Rodriguez will start at designated hitter tonight, and from listening to Joe Girardi, it sounds like A-Rod will be a DH for a few days. Girardi didn't love what he saw with A-Rod's lateral movement during pre-game workouts Tuesday.

As the 2009 season progressed, and it became clear the Yankees weren't thrilled about bringing back Hideki Matsui, I and many other media folk floated the notion of an "open" DH position, to keep as a safety zone for veterans who were either hurting or just resting. That has come to be because the Yankees signed Nick Johnson to DH, and Johnson suffered yet another injury.

So looking forward, with A-Rod and Jorge Posada signed for next year and Derek Jeter very likely to return, you have to wonder whether the Yankees will in fact make their DH a truly open position. I suppose if Johnson were healthy now, the Yankees could sneak him some starts at first base and rest Mark Teixeira every now and then. But perhaps it would make more sense to acquire a higher-quality backup shortstop-third baseman so that A-Rod can DH more. They already have Francisco Cervelli to spot Poasda.

--The Pirates designated Akinori Iwamura for assignment, and that's a big deal for the small-budget club. I like the approach Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington has taken in his three years on the job, aggressively trying to sell high on established players, yet the return just hasn't been there. Huntington acquired Iwamura last winter with the thought that he could be a prime trading chip. Instead, the Pirates are going to have to pay him to go away.

If you read the story, you'll see that Huntington took full accountability for what has gone wrong with the team. As we mentioned earlier today, perhaps the summoning of top prospects Pedro Alvarez, Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata will change the team's fortunes. If they don't, then it might be another GM next year trying to change this long-woeful club.

--The Royals will host the 2012 All-Star Game. I'm a big fan of Kansas City and haven't had reason to be there since 2002, so I'm looking forward to it. But here's hoping that the Royals are a less embarrassing franchise by that point.

Meanwhile, the next announcement will come - it could be soon, it could be a year from now; it really doesn't matter - is that the Mets will host the 2013 Midsummer Classic at Citi Field.

 

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