<
>

First Pitch: Will Lackey hit A-Rod?

8/17/2013
John Lackey doesn't think A-Rod should be playing. Will he send a message today at Fenway? AP Photo

BOSTON -- If there is one guy who would put one in Alex Rodriguez's ear hole, it would be John Lackey. Lackey has the fiery demeanor and the motivation.

"I've got a problem with it," Lackey said to The Boston Globe about A-Rod playing. "You bet I do. How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he's playing. I'm not sure that's right. ... It's pretty evident he's been doing stuff for a lot of years I've been facing him."

A-Rod is playing because in the Joint Drug Agreement and the collective bargaining agreement allow a player to be on the field while an appeal is pending. Normally, the dispute is not as public as the one between MLB and Rodriguez. Rodriguez is just exercising his rights, even if that annoys Lackey.

"He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie, and he admitted to doing stuff back then," Lackey said. "There are a lot of things I want back from him."

Rodriguez's teammates have publicly supported him for the most part, claiming that this is A-Rod's fight with MLB, not theirs, but if Lackey were to hit Rodriguez, there would be no question whose side they'd be on.

"I understand where the question could come from, that's for sure," said Vernon Wells when asked whether it is a legitimate question whether the Yankees would defend A-Rod if he were plunked. "He is part of this team. You ask a lot of guys who have been around him, they love him as a teammate. It doesn't really matter who you are, what's gone on from a public standpoint. When you are in the same uniform, you are part of the family. Whenever things happen in a family, yeah, I'm sure people don't agree with it, people take issue with it. But then you get past it and you accept people for who they are."

Lackey enters Saturday at 7-10 with a 3.32 ERA. Lackey will be opposed by Yankees ace Hiroki Kuroda (11-7, 2.33).

UP NOW: The latest on Rodriguez, including his denial of the "60 Minutes" story. Wallace Matthews has a column off Friday's events.

ON DECK: Game time is a little after 4 p.m. We will be in the clubhouse around lunchtime. As always, thanks for choosing ESPN New York for your Yankees news.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Lackey hit A-Rod?