A's Cust calls Mitchell Report 'a joke'

Jack Cust still wonders why his name appeared in the Mitchell Report. Now, the Oakland Athletics slugger has a more pressing question: How come some prominent Red Sox were missing?

“To me it was kind of a joke, the whole thing,” Cust said.

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell released his report in December 2007 and of the 85 players mentioned, none of them were Boston stars. Mitchell has been a director of the Red Sox since 2002.

Last month, The New York Times reported former Boston teammates Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were among 104 players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to a list compiled by the federal government.

“With all the other stuff going on, with a lot of the guys coming out recently — big-name guys — to me it’s kind of funny they spent all that money on the Mitchell Report and a bunch of hearsay and the guy who made all the money off it happened to work for the Red Sox,” Cust told the AP.

“Were there any Red Sox on the report? To me, that’s kind of a joke. How does that happen? It’s coming out now with guys on that team. The guy worked for the Red Sox — they spent all kinds of millions of dollars — and then no one there had their name brought up,” he said.

The 409-page report was compiled after 20 months of investigation and interviews by Mitchell and his staff. Mitchell was hired by commissioner Bud Selig.

Cust said he has never had a positive test that would put him on a drug list. The Mitchell Report said Cust told Larry Bigbee, a teammate on Baltimore’s Triple-A Ottawa team in 2003, that he had tried steroids.

Charles Scheeler, an attorney who worked with Mitchell, defended the report in a statement Tuesday.

“We stand by the statements regarding Mr. Cust in the report, and we remain highly confident in their accuracy,” Scheeler said.

Pudge returns to Rangers

Ivan Rodriguez is coming home to the Texas Rangers.

The 14-time All-Star catcher who started his career with the Rangers at age 19 was acquired from the Houston Astros for minor league pitcher Matt Nevarez and two players to be named.

“It’s been a long time,” said Rodriguez, who was with the Rangers from 1991-2002. “I’m glad that I’m back.”

Wakefield remains on DL

Sox right-hander Tim Wakefield threw a bullpen session before Tuesday’s game at Toronto and is not yet healthy enough to return to Boston’s starting rotation.

Wakefield, 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA, has been out since July 18 with a sore back that has led to nerve irritation in his left calf, forcing him to walk with a limp.

The 43-year-old knuckleballer made his first minor league rehab start on Saturday, allowing two runs and three hits in 3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Manager Terry Francona said there was a “pretty good chance” Wakefield would make another Triple-A rehab start Friday.

Short hops

Third baseman Alex Gordon, regarded in spring training as one of baseball’s top prospects, was demoted to the minor leagues by Kansas City. … Despite signing a record-breaking contract for $15.1 million, Stephen Strasburg is not expected on Washington’s roster any time soon. Acting Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said it’s “very unlikely” Strasburg will be called up to the majors this season. … The Toronto Blue Jays recalled outfielder Travis Snider from Triple-A Las Vegas. Manager Cito Gaston said the former first-round draft pick likely will play every day for the remainder of the season. … Dodgers manager Joe Torre said right-hander Hiroki Kuroda likely will be placed on the disabled list during his recovery from a concussion. Kuroda was hit in the head by a line drive in Arizona last weekend. … The Cubs have demoted beleaguered closer Kevin Gregg and replaced him with right-hander Carlos Marmol.