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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Rehabbing Yankee Alex Rodriguez insists, ‘I refuse to quit’

07.05.13 at 7:51 am ET

Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. Guatemala, 11 p.m. (NBCSN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ Alex Rodriguez, working his way back to the Yankees after January hip surgery, said the recent controversies regarding performance-enhancing drugs and his strained relationship with team management have not dissuaded him from pushing to return to the majors.

“I know people think I’m nuts,” Rodriguez told USA Today. “I know most people wouldn’t want the confrontation. Most people would say, ‘Get me out of here. Trade me. Do anything.’ But I’m the [expletive] crazy man who goes, ‘I want to compete. I want to stay in New York. I refuse to quit.’ Maybe it’s stupidity, I don’t know, but I’m wired to compete and give my best. I have a responsibility to be ready to play as soon as I can.”

Added Rodriguez: “You hear all of the doubters, and that just fuels me. They don’t know me. I’m not giving up. I never will. I’m not wired that way. This is the hardest fight I’ve ever had. There have been days, like, ‘Holy [expletive], how am I going to get through this day?’ But you keep getting after it, keep pushing.”

Rodriguez, 37, went 0-for-4 in his first two rehab games with Single-A Charleston (S.C.). He has said he’ll need about 20 games before he’s ready to rejoin his teammates in New York, where he struggled so badly last postseason that he was benched. There were reports recently that he was rushing his return just so he could quickly retire and guarantee his contract even if he was suspended for PEDs, but he brushed aside those accusations.

“Right now, we kind of got our hands tied,” he said. “It’s so hard and frustrating because we’re in a world that you’re guilty before being proven innocent. It’s not supposed to [expletive] be that way.”

Added Rodriguez: “The easy thing would be to give up. But I didn’t get to where I am by taking the [expletive] way out. I refuse to start now. There’s a lot of fight left in me.”

‘™¦ Meanwhile, Yankees captain Derek Jeter said Thursday he is “close” to beginning his rehab stint after working out at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa.

“I’m anxious to play in games,” Jeter said, adding: “I’ve always been itching to get back out there. Soon as they allow me to play, I’ll be out there.”

Jeter has yet to play since breaking his ankle last October during the playoffs. He had another fracture while rehabbing in April.

“I’m getting close, yes, I am,” Jeter said. “Everything I can do to get up to that point, I’ve done.”

‘™¦ The Maple Leafs are using a compliance buyout on center Mikhail Grabovski, who had four years remaining on a five-year deal. Grabovski, 29, scored just nine goals with seven assists in the 48-game regular season. He had no goals and two assists and was a minus-10 in Toronto’s seven-game series loss to the Bruins in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

While the team released a statement thanking Grabovski for his contributions over the past five years, the player did not have similarly nice things to say about his past season in Toronto, singling out coach Randy Carlyle for criticism.

“I play in the [expletive] Russian KHL, I make lots of [expletive] points, and what’€™s going to happen? He makes me [expletive] play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again,” Grabovski told TSN. “Yeah, I don’€™t score goals. I need to work more about that. I know that. But if you feel support from your coach [you’ll find success]. I don’€™t feel any support from this [expletive] idiot.”

Grabovski had success under previous Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who was replaced by Carlyle late in the 2011-12 season, scoring 20 goals three seasons. He indicated that Carlyle did not communicate well with him.

“Wilson [expletive] pushed me same hard as this,” Grabovski said, “but don’t be an [expletive] with me. If you don’t like something tell [expletive] right away, don’t put me on the bench, healthy scratch [me] or something. Don’t put me on a [expletive] third line and then [expletive] play me six minutes in a game.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 5, 1970, which player just acquired from the Brewers made his Red Sox debut pinch-hitting in the fifth inning and hit a game-tying inside-the-park home run in an 8-4 victory over the Indians?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Tyler is a dynamic player that will be a part of our core group for a long time to come. A player at his age, position and talent level are extremely difficult to acquire and we’re thrilled to bring him into our organization.” — Stars general manager Jim Nill, on the acquisition of Tyler Seguin from the Bruins

STAT OF THE DAY: 53 — Wins this season for the Red Sox, after Thursday’s 8-2 rout of the Padres, tying the team record (set in 1978) for most wins by July 4

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): An exhibition between Mexican soccer teams Club America and Guadalajara in Las Vegas on Wednesday night did not go well. First, hundreds of fans of the teams fought each other outside the stadium before the match. Then the players got into it with each other, leading to two ejections for each team. Finally, fans started fighting with each other and running onto the field after a late Guadalajara goal, causing the game to be stopped early.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Huey Lewis was born on this day in 1950.

Read More: alex rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mikhail Grabovski,