MLB notes: MLB to ask A-Rod about poker games

August 4, 2011 

Yankees star Alex Rodriguez will be interviewed by Major League Baseball as part of its investigation of his involvement in illegal poker games. Rodriguez also faced questions about his gambling habits in 2005, when the Daily News reported he attended games at an underground poker club in New York. The slugging third baseman later acknowledged "it wasn't the right thing to do" and checked with MLB before holding a charity poker tournament the following year.

Now baseball wants to talk to him again.

"We take this very seriously and have been investigating this matter since the initial allegation," MLB said Wednesday in a statement. "As part of the investigation, the commissioner's office will interview Mr. Rodriguez."

Star Magazine reported last month that several people saw A-Rod playing in games hosted at Hollywood hotels and residences. His publicist denied that Rodriguez participated.

Strasburg to pitch in minors

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is expected to throw Sunday in the minor leagues, a significant step in his recovery from elbow surgery. Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday that Strasburg will throw an inning or two for Single-A Hagerstown, which will be hosting Greensboro. It will be the right-hander's first appearance in a game since he underwent reconstructive elbow surgery last September.

Johnson hopes to have Strasburg, the first overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, back with the Nationals by September.

La Russa rips 'stupid' fans

Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa said a fan told him he hoped he would get shingles again and that others took insults too far in a 8-7, 11-inning victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night. La Russa called the fans "idiots" in comments after the game. "It's going way too far when they start cursing your family, and the funniest one, the guy's yelling, 'I hope you get shingles again,' " La Russa said Wednesday. "That's just stupid."

Short hops

■ Brewers infielder Craig Counsell is hitless in his last 45 at-bats, one out away from tying the major-league record set by Bill Bergen, a catcher for the Brooklyn Superbas in the early 1900s. Counsell's last hit came June 10, when he went 3-for-3 against the Cardinals. Counsell is batting .145 this season.

■ Former Henry Clay and Kentucky star Collin Cowgill went 2-for-5 for the Diamondbacks in an 8-1 loss to the Giants on Wednesday.

■ Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee appears to be breaking out of his season-long slump. He's hitting .351 with 12 RBI over his last 15 games to lift his average from .221 to .240.

■ In his first 86 games, Braves second baseman Dan Uggla had 12 homers and 29 RBI. During his 25-game hitting streak, he's batting .354 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI.

■ Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez has a sprained left shoulder and will likely miss a couple of games. Ramirez injured his shoulder while diving for a pop fly Tuesday night.

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