Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ivan Rodriguez Apologists Look for Rebound

Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez's "off year" in '05, when his BA fell to .276 and he lost nearly 100 points in OBP, is seen by his apologists as a fluke attributable lapses in concentration attributable to Jose Canseco accusing Rodriguez of steroid abuse, Rodriguez's four-day suspension for arguing balls and strikes, conflicts with Tigers manager Allen Trammel, and Rodriguez's volatile emotional state because of a his divorce from his wife of 15 years. Though he is 34, the team still sees Rodriguez as a vital, everyday catcher and is predicting a rebound now that the controversy over Canseco's book has died down, Trammel has been fired and the divorce has been finalized.