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A-Rod acquires new tabloid nickname: 'Stray-Rod'

| Thursday, May 31, 2007

TORONTO — Alex Rodriguez made the cover of the New York Post on Wednesday — and not because of the New York Yankees' latest slump.

"STRAY-ROD" blared the Page 1 headline across a picture of A-Rod and an unidentified woman. "Alex hits strip club with mystery blonde," it continued.

The Post said the pair entered an elevator at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto — near the Park Hyatt where most of the Yankees stayed — after dinner at a steak house Sunday night. They later went to a strip club, the newspaper said.

An inside headline called him a "YANKEE DOODLE RANDY."

"Cynthia Rodriguez — A-Rod's wife and mother of their 2 1/2 -year-old daughter Natasha — was nowhere to be seen," the Post said.

Rodriguez had little to say on the matter before Wednesday's game against Toronto.

"Absolutely no comment about anything personal and I certainly don't think this will be a distraction to our team," he said.

Asked whether it would be a distraction to him personally, Rodriguez said, "No, I don't think so."

"I think everything probably got blown out of proportion like always," outfielder Johnny Damon said.

Manager Joe Torre agreed: "When you get into that area, I think it's over the line. It's what people seem to think is important or seem to think they have to do.

"In New York, there are so many more things that you talk about on a regular basis in addition to baseball," Torre added. "When I took this job I certainly knew it wasn't going to be about hitting and running and changing pitchers."

Torre said Rodriguez discussed the tabloid story with him.

"Alex is a big boy," Torre said. "I know how serious he takes his baseball. It really wasn't an issue for me in the fact that he wouldn't be ready to play tonight.

"My job is to keep the distractions from carrying over onto the playing field," Torre said.

The Yankees began the day at 21-29 and 14 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East.

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