A-Rod keeps cards close to his vest

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:20 PM ET

Alex Rodriguez may be a poker player but he isn't about to gamble with his health as he recovers from surgery on his right knee.

It was Day 2 of A-Rod's rehab assignment Friday in Tampa and the New York Yankees star said he came up aces. His media briefing didn't draw a full house -- certainly fewer reporters than he faced Thursday after reports surfaced that MLB was investigating allegations the New York Yankees star took part in high-stakes illegal poker games with Hollywood types, some of whom anted up with cocaine.

"The first two days have been good," said Rodriguez, who underwent surgery July 11 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. "Again, I think it's how I feel when I wake up, how the body reacts in a week or so, but the first two days have been good, and we'll just go from there."

Rodriguez took grounders made throws and swung at some soft tosses. But he isn't about to take a risk on facing live batting practice.

Asked if might try to hit by Sunday, Rodriguez was hesitant.

"Depends how I feel," he said.

Regarding the gambling accusations, well A-Rod refused to show his hand. While playing high-stakes poker may seem innocent, the bottom line is athletes can't gamble. Just ask Pete Rose.

DON'T BLAME IT ON RIOS

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen remains committed to a slumping Alex Rios.

Rios, Chicago's 30-year-old centre fielder, has been in a season-long slump -- hitting just .207 with six homers and 24 RBI entering play Friday night -- and the critics are out in full force.

"Tell these people out there, they think they know baseball more than I (do), then send me the lineup that was better without Rios in the lineup," Guillen said.

"Is Rios not playing well? Of course he's not, he's brutal everywhere. People think I (don't) know, yes I know. People think Rios (doesn't) know, of course he knows. That's common sense."

Rios, a former Toronto Blue Jay, had a solid 2010 season, hitting .284 with 21 homers an 88 RBI.

MARLINS LOSE INFANTE

Florida Marlins second baseman Omar Infante has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right middle finger.

He was injured in a game Thursday when he dove for a ball. Infante was visited by trainers after the play but remained in the game for two more innings before being replaced.

There's no timetable for his return, but it figures to be a lengthy absence.

Infielder Joe Thurston was recalled from triple-A New Orleans to replace him on the roster.

Meanwhile, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez hopes to return Saturday from a sprained shoulder.

DODGERS BAILED OUT

The Los Angeles Dodgers will accept up to $150 million in loans from Major League Baseball to keep the team afloat as it works its way through bankruptcy.

The deal was announced in court papers Friday.

Dodgers lawyers were assured the loan would not put MLB in position to seize the team.

Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross, who had ordered the loan negotiations, said the league's deal would save the team $14 million.

The money will be used to keep the Dodgers operating and give them time to try to sell cable TV rights.

BRIEFLY

The Minnesota Twins have offered outfielder Michael Cuddyer a two-year, $16-million extension, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Friday. Cuddyer, who is making $10.5 million this season, refused to comment. He can become a free agent at the end of the season ... Atlanta Braves outfielder Nate McLouth is likely to miss six weeks following surgery to repair a sports hernia. McLouth's injury originally was diagnosed as a "mild" abdominal strain when he got hurt July 28 ... The Baltimore Orioles recalled right-hander Chris Tillman from triple-A Norfolk to start Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays. He replaces Jake Arrieta, who will likely need surgery on his right elbow ... New York Yankees minor-league pitcher Steven Evarts has been suspended for 50 games for violating the minor league drug program. He tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing substance.


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