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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Magazine paints A-Rod as outcast on Yanks
By TIMES WIRES
Published September 21, 2006
TORONTO - How does Alex Rodriguez fit into the Yankees clubhouse?
The question has come up again thanks to a story in this week's Sports Illustrated in which Rodriguez is portrayed as a loner whose struggles prompted Jason Giambi to urge manager Joe Torre to get tough with him.
Though his statistics suggest otherwise - he was batting .299 and slugging .500 with runners in scoring position entering Wednesday's games - the third baseman has been perceived by fans and the media as a poor clutch performer.
Giambi is quoted in the article as saying Rodriguez has a "false confidence" and that Torre should "stop coddling him." He told the magazine he challenged a slumping Rodriguez to step up his play during a series in Boston.
"We're all rooting for you and we're behind you 100 percent, but you've got to get the big hit," Giambi told SI he said.
"What do you mean?" Rodriguez responded. "I've had five hits in Boston."
"You ... call those hits?" Giambi said, according to SI. "You had two ... dinkers to rightfield and a ball that bounced over the third baseman! Look at how many pitches you missed! When you hit three, four or five, you have to get the big hits, especially if they're going to walk Bobby (Abreu) and me."
Rodriguez told the magazine he didn't recall the exchange but said, "I'm sure we had a conversation."
Rodriguez also wondered why fans and the media tend to single him out.
Mike "Mussina doesn't get hammered at all," he told SI. "He's making a boatload of money. Giambi's making $20.4-million, which is fine and dandy, but it seems those guys get a pass. When people write (bad things) about me, I don't know if it's (because) I'm good-looking, I'm biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team. ... "
Tuesday night, Giambi said his remarks were meant constructively.
"It wasn't a situation where there was malice or anything," he said. "It was just trying to find anything to help him out. ... I don't want to make it sound like we were fighting or angry. By no means was it supposed to come off mean."
Later, Rodriguez said he has felt "100 percent" supported by his teammates.
In other Yankees news, German construction company Hochtief said its U.S. unit, Dallas' Turner Corp., won the contract to build the team a new stadium.
Gammons on his game
ESPN analyst Peter Gammons made his first television appearance since he had a brain aneurysm three months ago, looking and sounding like his old self while filing a report from Fenway Park in Boston on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight.
Gammons, who began his day with an interview on SportsCenter anchor Dan Patrick's radio show, also wrote a column posted on ESPN.com, thanking the dozens of people who helped him from the moment he was stricken while driving near his Cape Cod home June 27.
BLUE JAYS: Ace right-hander Roy Halladay left the game against the Yankees in the fourth with a strained forearm.
BRAVES: Atlanta agreed to terms with closer Bob Wickman on a one-year contract extension for the 2007 season. Wickman, 37, has been successful in 15 of 16 save opportunities since his acquisition from Cleveland about two months ago.
BREWERS: Right-hander Rick Helling will have season-ending surgery today to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.
MARINERS: Left-hander Jarrod Washburn will probably miss the rest of the season with a torn right calf muscle.
NATIONALS: The Columbus Clippers reached a two-year deal to become the team's Triple-A affiliate.