A-Rod MVP, get used to it

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

It doesn't matter how many boos tumble down from the 500 Level.

Never mind if the Rogers Centre JumboTron staff decides to show Blue Jays pitchers throwing at Alex Rodriguez after each half inning on the scoreboard.

Rodriguez might be -- as one former teammate told us during spring training -- the most disingenuous teammate he has ever had, he may have yelled "Ha!" or "Mine!" or cued the UCLA marching band when Howie Clark camped under a popup at third ... whatever, it really doesn't matter.

The New York Yankees third baseman is going to be the American League's most valuable player at season's end.

Going into Fenway Park last night -- where he also will be booed -- Rodriguez has 52 homers, 22 of which have tied a game or put the Yanks ahead. He has an outside chance at the franchise and AL home run record, 61, held by one Roger Maris since 1961.

The mark was passed a few times in the NL, but some of those totals are under review.

Heading into Boston, A-Rod had a .664 slugging percentage. The Yankees' record for a right-handed hitter is .673, by Joe DiMaggio in 1937. No AL player has slugged .670 for a full season since Manny Ramirez in 2000.

A Yankee has not done it since Mickey Mantle in '61.

Rodriguez's 140 RBIs are two shy of his career high and the most by a Yankee since DiMaggio's 155 in 1948.

Worse than a slump

Defending AL MVP Justin Morneau has had better years.

The first baseman from New Westminister, B.C., was on pace to hit 46 home runs when he hit two -- No. 27 and No. 28 -- at the Rogers Centre on July 23. Now, 48 games deeper into the season, Morneau finally hit No. 30 last night. That ended a drought of 70 at-bats that dated back to Aug. 24.

After seeing three pitches in his two at-bats -- a ground ball to first and a pop to short -- on Wednesday, manager Ron Gardenhire lifted Morneau for pinch-hitter Matthew LeCroy with the Twins trailing 6-1.

Morneau has admitted that thoughts of hitting No. 30 were weighing on him when there wasn't anyone on base. A year ago, his homer production also tailed off. He hit his 30th on Aug. 7 and finished with 34.

Still, despite the lack of homers, he remains the Twins' top RBI man. He had 130 last year and 107 following his two-run blast in last night's series-opener against Detroit.

Dubious debut

Welland lefty David Davidson had his parents and 15 friends make the trip to Pittsburgh after being recalled by the Pirates on Sept. 3.

"Even though I didn't pitch, I know what a big deal for everyone to see me in a major-league uniform," Davidson, 23, said. "I'm glad they were able to make it."

When he did make his first appearance, Davidson was touched for four runs by the St. Louis Cardinals.

"It wasn't the easiest lineup in the world to face, but you have to get your feet sometime," he said. "It wasn't fun to give up four runs in an inning but it was a thrill to pitch in a major-league game."


Videos

Photos