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For their own good
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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Hammering A-Rod keeping Yankees afloat in April
Rodriguez is hitting .379 with 12 homers.
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published April 22, 2007
The boos started for Alex Rodriguez because of the Red Sox, when three postseasons ago the game's best hitter turned into a dud. They peaked last season when he was booting balls at third and walking to the dugout, head hung low, when the Yankee lineup needed him the most.
But you can't blame A-Rod anymore. Two days after a three-hit, two-homer game against Boston on Friday night - when he used Curt Schilling as his personal batting practice pitcher - Rodriguez is hitting .379 with 12 homers and 31 RBIs. The Yankees lost 7-6 after an uncharacteristic Mariano Rivera collapse.
Even though Yankees fans have spent the past few years railing against Rodriguez for killing the New York dream, it's becoming obvious how important he is to the team's success.
He has collected at least one RBI in 14 of the team's first 16 games. He has hit home runs in 10 games and one every 51/2 at-bats. The Yankees have not won a game in which Rodriguez has not homered. His 31 RBIs in his first 16 games surpass his total of 16 for the entire month of April last season.
He's hitting balls into the seats again, lifting his arms in enthusiasm and, all of a sudden, A-Rod's not so annoying.
TAKING NOTICE: Mark Buehrle is one of the most unlikely owners of a no-hitter: He has allowed at least one hit per inning in each of his past four seasons, including 247 in 204 innings last season.
Buehrle, who no-hit the Rangers on Thursday, turned down a three-year, $35-million deal last season, and talks died after that. In the offseason, White Sox GM Kenny Williams said, "I'd rather take a young guy with a high ceiling than take a guy who I had to overpay to make it look like I'm trying."
But when you look at the money Barry Zito, a comparable left-hander, got, Buehrle could be a rich free agent. Zito, who turns 29 on May 13, was 102-63 with a 3.55 ERA before heading to the Giants with a seven-year, $126-million deal. Buehrle, 28, was 98-66 with a 3.80 ERA entering the season and could wind up with more wins and secondary stats that are almost as good.
LOOKING TO HELP: Mets third baseman David Wright, whose 26-game hitting streak ended Friday, has a bigger concern this week. With phone lines tied up, Wright spent a stressful Monday morning trying to contact his brother, a senior engineering major at Virginia Tech, before hearing around 2 p.m. that Stephen was fine. David, who was recruited to play baseball at Virginia Tech, says he wants to help in whatever charitable efforts are taking place in the wake of the shooting deaths of 33 people. "Once all these things settle down, I'd do whatever I can. I'm open to ideas," Wright, 24, said. "It's tough to comprehend why anybody would want to do something like this. Your heart goes out to those families and those kids."
GETTING UGLY: With 12 errors through their first 10 games, the Indians are on pace to make the most of any AL team in 57 years, 194 over 162 games. The 1950 St. Louis Browns made 196 errors. The worst offender has been third baseman and former Rays trade target Andy Marte, who had four errors, putting him on pace for 65.
WATCH FOR FLYING PIZZA: A fan who threw a slice of pizza at another fan Sunday at Fenway undoubtedly added to Red Sox fans' rep as the game's, ahem, classiest (countless clips of the toss are at YouTube.com), but Angels manager Mike Scioscia was just happy the slice was New York style instead off Chicago deep dish. "That guy might have been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon," Scioscia said. "Those things, man - if you drop one on your toes, you'll be in a cast."
ODDS AND ENDS: Say what you want about the Royals overspending on right-hander Gil Meche, but the $55-million man hasn't allowed a earned run in his past 15 innings and is pitching to a 2.22 ERA. ... The quickest fall from grace for an opening day starter? Phillies right-hander Brett Myers, who was demoted to the setup role last week. Myers signed a three-year, $25.75-million deal in the offseason. ... Toronto left-hander Gustavo Chacin is 6-0 lifetime against Boston after his win Tuesday. He is 10-2 in 13 April starts.