Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Francisco Rodriguez, All-Star Game no-shows, Matt Harvey and Mike Piazza

Is it a social faux pas to produce a Spadafore-style entry at the site of the All-Star Game?

If so, you'd better report me to Miss Manners. We're using the dinner fork on the salad, ba-bee.

News: Alex Rodriguez elects to undergo surgery on his right knee, putting him out for four-to-six weeks.

Views: Not a surprise, given how badly A-Rod moved in his last few games and the words that he said on Sunday.

It's a big blow. But like when Derek Jeter went down, the Yankees have the capable (if erratic) Eduardo Nunez to step in.

Trade options? The most interesting the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez, who is enjoying a rebound season but who has an interesting contract. As you can see at Cot's Baseball Contracts, Ramirez has a $16-million club option (against a $2-million buyout) than can vest in a few different ways. There's only one realistic avenue left: If Ramirez wins the LCS MVP honor this year, then the option vests.

So if the Yankees acquired Ramirez and A-Rod wound up being out for the rest of the season - which would mean something went wrong in the surgery and/or rehabilitation -and Ramirez starred in the LCS, then the Yankees would have a very interesting situation on their hands for next year. 

Which is why Nunez will get the first shot. Ramirez, making $14.6 million this year, will clear waivers, so this is a decision the Yankees must make by August 31, rather than July 31, assuming Ramirez doesn't get dealt anywhere else. 

The only other obvious name I see among teams out of the race is Florida's Wes Helms, who has been terrible for the Marlins this season but whom the Yankees liked in the past.

Again...Nunez can be the best replacement option when you factor in both baseball skills and financial/roster considerations. He just needs to keep doing what he has been doing, only a few feet over to his right on defense.

--UPDATE, 7:58 a.m P.S.T.: My bad, I mis-read the contract terms on Ramirez. The option vests automatically if he's traded. Although that's something that could be negotiated away, depending on how badly Ramirez wanted to get out of Chicago.

News: Life after 3,000 begins for Jeter, and Neil Best writes that Joe Girardi once again defended his leadoff hitter.

Views: Sometimes I wonder If Girardi actually believes some of the crap he tried to sell in his news conferences. Because if he did, then he never would've gotten the Yankees' managing job in the first place.

First of all, this "Can he hit .320 in the second half?" question: If Jeter hit .320 in the second half but cut down on his walk rate to do so, then that wouldn't be very valuable, and it wouldn't be worthy of the leadoff spot. It's about on-base percentage, which Girardi knows. 

Second of all, Girardi likes to cite the fact that Jeter gets on base a lot in the first inning. So...what? The rest of the innings don't matter? 

Once again, my beef isn't with Jeter. There's no shame in being a diminished player at age 37, especially when you're already a slam-dunk, first-ballot Hall of Famer. My beef is with the manager not using his resources in the best possible fashion.

Of course Jeter's magical, 5-for-5 Saturday is going to buy time for both Jeter and Girardi, as Best points out. But to answer Girardi's challenge in my own way, I think it's more likely that the leadoff question does not go away in the second half.

Oh, and the Yankees won, by the way.

News: Francisco Rodriguez, it appears, will hire Scott Boras as his new representative.

Views: Here's how it will impact the Mets this season: If they want to trade him to one of the 10 teams on K-Rod's no-trade list - and we're still trying to get that list - then Boras will ensure that K-Rod receives some sort of compensation for waiving his rights. Other agents might simply let it pass if K-Rod were amenable to moving.

If the Mets' best trade partner proves to be one of the 19 teams not on K-Rod's list, then the Boras news will be a factor only this winter for interested suitors, assuming K-Rod's new team doesn't let the $17.5 million option for 2012 vest.

The Mets lost, by the way.

News: Thirteen of the 68 originally selected All-Stars won't participate in Tuesday's All-Star Game, and in all, 84 players were named All-Stars.

Views: It looks terrible for the game, and as we discussed late last week, a big part of the problem is the "If you pitch Sunday, then you can't pitch in the game" rule. That has to go, as well-intentioned as it is.

Beyond that, it seems more like bad luck than group apathy. The two most conspicuous dodgers are Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

Jeter, to reiterate, has more than earned the benefit of the doubt on this front. He has served his time. This is a hot topic down here in Phoenix, so - please don't tell the competition - this might be even be my column for tomorrow's Newsday. 

Rivera? He lost the benefit of the doubt a while back. It's evident he has no use for the All-Star Game. But his elbow injury last week gave him some cover.

News: Matt Harvey picked up the save for the U.S. Team, under manager Mike Piazza, in the Futures Game.

Views: Harvey threw three pitches. Now that's a small sample size. There were some scouts from other teams at the game, and I planned to reach out to them to get their takes on Harvey, but three pitches? The scouts would've laughed at me if I had inquired.

Seems like a kid who has his head together, for what that's worth. He did a nice job covering first base on a 3-1 play to retire San Diego prospect Raymond Fuentes, ending the game, and he joked that such strong fundamental play would protect him from watchful Mets officials.

The Yankees' Austin Romine, meanwhile, looked really good at the plate, stroking a pair of singles to leftfield, and made a nifty catch in the ninth inning, recovering after getting his glove stuck in the netting behind home plate. 

The other prospect who caught my eye? The game's MVP, Grant Green of Oakland, who has the sort of pop in his bat the A's could desperately use.

--OK, very busy day today. News conferences, player availabilities and, tonight, the interminable Home Run Derby. I'll check in later with news of the day.

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