Though we heard nothing about his chef, dirty videos starring his wife or threats to dog it were the Yankees to ship him elsewhere, Gary Sheffield was in vintage form yesterday, speaking to the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan about his best buddy in the whole wide world, Alex Rodriguez.
The days of the Red Sox challenging Rodriguez physically or verbally, like they did throughout spring training when they repeatedly chirped that Rodriguez was not a “true Yankee” are done.
The Yankees finally have A-Rod’s back at Fenway and everywhere else.
“We’re going to bring our gold, our jewel in there, which is A-Rod,” Gary Sheffield told me yesterday during the American League All-Star interview session.
“We’re going to see how the chips fall this time. That’s our man and we know he’s our man.
“We’re going to look out for him when he’s in a situation like that.”
I asked Sheffield exactly what he meant by that statement.
“When he’s in a hostile environment, we’ve got to make sure he’s comfortable because it helps our team,” Sheffield answered.
And if something like the Varitek incident happens again?
“That’s why I say it’s going to be different,” Sheffield said, looking me straight in the eye.
“We’re going to make sure that Alex is taken care of.”
By taken care of, I sincerely hope Gary means one of those Brookstone back massagers. Those things are amazing.
While much of the baseball community was buzzing yesterday about next spring’s World Baseball Classic, Sheffield, speaking with the New York Daily News’ Sam Borden, isn’t among those looking forward to the tournament.
“My season is when I get paid,” he said flatly. “I’m not doing that. . . . I’m not sacrificing my body or taking a chance on an injury for something that’s made up.” Sheffield, whose is well-known for being outspoken, added, “A lot of guys feel that way. They won’t say it like I will, though. This isn’t the Olympics. That’s a big difference. This is something you made up.”
The risk of injury is impossible to ignore, and it’s the factor detractors cite most. How will Steinbrenner – or any owner, for that matter – feel if a marquee player tears an ACL or suffers some other season-ending injury playing for his country instead of the team that pays him millions?
Sheffield, for one, doesn’t plan to find out.
“A lot of guys say, ‘Give it a shot, give it a try,’ ” he said. “But I don’t think so.”