TODAY'S PAPER
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71° Good Morning
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Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, the Mets' big day, Heath Bell and Davey Johnson

At yesterday's Yankees game, I wrote about Alex Rodriguez, who is playing quite well as he approaches his 36th birthday. No, he may not be, technically, "in his prime" anymore. But he's still darn good.

Most interesting to me about A-Rod's season? His defense. To my eye, he has reached more balls at third bawe than he had in the past few years. And the Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs measures agree with that observation.

--Derek Jeter continued his rehabilitation in Tampa. 

--Mark Herrmann advances today's Old-Timer's Day. I'm betting that Joe Torre gets the biggest applause, because this will be Yankees fans' first opportunity to really salute Torre since he left. Torre appeared at the dedication for George Steinbrenner's monument last September, but the Yankees understandably didn't introduce people for that.

Bernie Williams has been back plenty of times, while Lou Piniella will get the "Looooouuuu!" chants that are awesome but carry a different, lower acoustic. Hence my Torre prediction.

--Phil Hughes might pitch next on Wednesday in Trenton.

--The Yankees are playing well in day games.

--The Mets clobbered the Rangers. Winning pitcher Jon Niese set off alarms with what the Mets called a rapid heartbeat.

--Jason Bay and Justin Turner both sat out with what the Mets hope are minor injuries.

--Texas native Dillon Gee will have a nice-sized group watching him pitch today at Rangers Ballpark.

--The Nationals will officially introduce Davey Johnson today as their new manager, and I was surprised that Johnson, 68, agreed to do this. The last time I spent considerable time with him was 2009, during the World Baseball Classic, when he managed Team USA. He didn't appear particularly energetic or engaged, and really, he didn't do a very good job. 

In short, he didn't act like a guy who was yearning for another chance to manage in the major leagues.

Maybe he has regained an appetite for that gig since then. Or maybe Washington is making a big mistake.

--My Sunday Insider notes how the Padres could be the busiest team in trading season. The Yankees have called San Diego to check in on Heath Bell, but they have not been among the most aggressive suitors. The Insider also features items on Jesus Montero, Roy Oswalt, J.C. Romero and Bobby Valentine.

--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on WFAN at 11:45 this morning with Richard Neer, talking baseball.

--Have a great day.

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