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Report: Yankees tell A-Rod to keep cousin away; Nats fire Rijo

Alex Rodriguez has been told by the New York Yankees to keep his cousin away from ballparks.

The message was given to the star third baseman yesterday, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press. The message applied to spring training and the regular season, the person said.

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Speaking at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., general manager Brian Cashman said only that the matter of Rodriguez being picked up from his spring training opener Wednesday by his cousin "has been handled."

Rodriguez took a similar tone after New York's 5-1 victory yesterday over the Tampa Bay Rays. "It's been addressed," he said. "And, no further comment."

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A day earlier in Dunedin, Rodriguez homered and walked twice, then got into a sport utility vehicle driven by Yuri Sucart. He has been identified as the cousin who provided Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs obtained in the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez admitted using them while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.

Nationals: : Jose Rijo, a special assistant to general manager Jim Bowden, was fired by Washington, the latest fallout from a scandal involving a top prospect from the Dominican Republic who lied about his age and name. The team also fired Jose Baez, director of operations in the Dominican Republic, and cut ties with Rijo's baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

Mets:: Johan Santana was scratched from this morning's "B" game start against Italy because of tenderness in his pitching elbow. New York manager Jerry Manuel said the decision was precautionary. The left-hander remains on track to make his regular exhibition game debut Tuesday.

Dodgers: : General manager Ned Colletti called Los Angeles' latest offer to Manny Ramirez - a one-year, $25 million contract with a $20 million player option for 2010 - a "significant concession" by the team but said he's not sure how close the sides might be to a deal. ... First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz agreed to a minor league contract.

Et cetera:: Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum agreed to a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Giants. ... Ken Griffey Jr.'s first spring training game in his return to the Mariners will be Wednesday against Australia's national team.


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