First Pitch: What does he have left?

August, 5, 2013
8/05/13
6:00
AM ET
CHICAGO -- It sort of feels more like Alex Rodriguez is on the way in rather than on the way out. This day -- the day that baseball officially announces his suspension -- was being billed as the end of A-Rod. Instead, he is expected to be back in the lineup with a chance -- a chance -- to change some of the narrative with his bat.

While we know all the negatives about A-Rod, I do believe he loves to play baseball. Some have scoffed at this, saying that his fight with MLB and the Yankees is only about the money and, sure, to a large degree, it is. But none of us would be talking about A-Rod if he didn't start playing baseball in Miami three decades ago. And he knows it.

That is his identity. That is what made him who he is. And, if he is going to win anymore support -- especially among Yankee fans -- that is where he will leave his mark.

I think he was embarrassed by his three singles and 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats in October 2012. He was pinch-hit for and benched. That is not how he wanted to go out.

This is a guy who for vanity or to help his team win still continued to take PEDs --- according to MLB -- even though he had already had his money, the $275 million contract. So if it were just about the money, why would he have taken that chance?

UP NOW: A-Rod will be in the lineup. Derek Jeter, on the other hand, may not be. He calls this season, "a nightmare." Phil Hughes continues to let down the Yankees.

ON DECK: The circus comes to Chicago, so sit back and enjoy the show as A-Rod's suspension is finally announced and he is expected to be in the lineup. We will have you covered on every media platform you could imagine, starting right here at ESPNNewYork.com, where we will be posting stuff from dawn to dusk. I will have a Rapid Reaction immediately after the announcement is made. Ian O'Connor and Wallace Matthews will have columns up soon after. Mike Mazzeo will be blogging. We will have all the reaction from all sides.

On radio, we will be talking about it on 98.7 FM all day. I'll be on with Mike & Mike at 9:15 a.m. On SportsCenter, Pedro Gomez and I will be live from U.S. Celluar Field, beginning at noon. We will have reporters from coast-to-coast covering the story.

IN THE HOLE: White Sox lefty starter, Jose Quintana (5-2, 3.62 ERA) opposes Andy Pettitte (7-8, 4.28 ERA) on Monday. A-Rod is 0-2 vs. Quintana. On Tuesday, lefty Chris Sale (6-11, 2.92) faces Hiroki Kuroda (10-6, 2.38). A-Rod has never faced Sale. On Wednesday, it is lefty Hector Santiago (3-7, 3.28 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (9-10, 4.78 ERA). A-Rod struck out against Santiago the only time he faced him.

QUESTION: How do you think A-Rod does tonight on the field?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.286 8 47 47
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 61
OPSB. Gardner .780
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135