RHP Mikey O'Brien (5-6, 4.11) vs. LHP Jesse Biddle (4-11, 3.89)
In the standings:
The Thunder are still in second place in the EL East, 11.5 games back of first-place Binghamton. Reading is in last place, 19 games back of the B-Mets.
CHANGE: Grice RF
A-Rod plays some catch before the game.
As first reported by our own Josh Norris, embattled Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez will play five innings at third base for the Thunder tonight as the Biogenesis rumors continue to swirl. According to the Thunder PR staff, there were approximately 150 media credentials requested. For perspective, the press box here at Arm & Hammer Park holds only about 20 people (ESPN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, Associated Press and New York Daily News are all here, among others). There had been some question about whether Rodriguez would cut a deal with Major League Baseball before this series got started, but the New York Post's Joel Sherman has reported that
any suspension is unlikely to come down until Monday, which means Rodriguez will likely take the field today and tomorrow. It doesn't appear that Rodriguez will talk to the media before the game, but is scheduled to talk after.
Tony Franklin said before the game that the idea with batting A-Rod second in the lineup was to give him three at-bats. Franklin also said that, while he doesn't consider Rodriguez limited on the basepaths, he probably won't send him home from third if he thinks there is a chance for a collision.
"No, I don’t think he is, but we have to be sensible about
what we do," Franklin said. "As I tell all the guys who come down to make their rehabs, run at
your own risk. If you feel like you can run, go ahead and do so. It’s part of
the game. It’s kind of hard to fake it when you are out there, so if you feel
like running go ahead and do it and if not, let me know. I’ll be forewarned and
I won’t try to push anything. If I sence that there is going to be a collision
of some sort, I probably wouldn’t try to send him home. A close play, I
wouldn’t send him home, because this is not the place he wants to end up. He
wants to get back to the big leagues."
Here is some more video
of Franklin's press conference, as well as some of Rodriguez taking BP before the game.
: Rodriguez will have to face on of the best pitchers in the EL Friday night, as the R-Phils Jesse Biddle takes the mound. Biddle was the winning pitcher in this year's Futures Game, and was named Baseball America's top Phillies prospect coming into the season...
More updates, with video, to come.