NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball investigators have him in their sights, New York Yankees fans don’t want him on the team, and after an ugly back-and-forth, Alex Rodriguez agreed to continue rehabbing an injury instead of rejoining the Bronx Bombers Friday.
A-Rod’s relationship is so strained, largely of his own doing, that during Thursday discussion on how to rehabilitate his latest injury, he had a lawyer join the discussions.
The third baseman angered the Yankees when he obtained a second medical opinion on his strained left quadriceps this week without informing the team in writing, a step required by the sport’s collective bargaining agreement.
The Yankees intend to discipline him, most likely with a fine.
“Do you trust the Yankees?” Rodriguez was asked Thursday during an interview on WFAN radio.
A-Rod’s answer was telling.
“Um. You know, I’d rather not get into that,” he responded. “I’m just frustrated that I’m not on the field tomorrow.”
Sidelined since hip surgery in January, Rodriguez issued a statement saying he wanted to be activated for Friday’s homestand opener against Tampa Bay. But that wasn’t in the Yankees plans.
A-Rod went public with his disenchantment.
“Obviously I’m very, very disappointed,” he said. “I know I can help my team. Obviously, I’m frustrated but I agreed to this five-day plan, and on we go.”
Whether he gets back on a big league field any time soon or ever plays for the Yankees again remains to be seen.
MLB has been investigating Rodriguez as part of its probe of the closed Biogenesis clinic in Florida accused in media reports of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. A suspension appears likely, but Rodriguez could ask the players’ association to contest a drug penalty — making it possible he might not have to serve any time until next year.
He is among the dozen or so players under investigation by MLB; he has said in the past that he used PEDs from 2001-03 while with Texas but maintained he has not used them since.
Rodriguez’s return from hip surgery has created more drama than most players experience in their entire careers.
Seemingly days away from rejoining the Yankees, Rodriguez injured a leg last weekend and was sent to New York for an MRI on Sunday. Team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad diagnosed a grade 1 strain, the least severe level.
Dr. Michael Gross, the orthopedic director of The Sports Medicine Institute at Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center, was retained by Rodriguez and said on WFAN on Wednesday that he examined an MRI and could not detect an injury. Gross, who never examined Rodriguez personally, was reprimanded this year by New Jersey’s board of medical examiners over steroid prescriptions, fined $30,000 and ordered to pay $10,000 in costs.
Rodriguez was re-examined Thursday by Dr. Daniel Murphy, the Yankees’ orthopedic surgeon in Tampa, Fla., who confirmed Ahmad’s diagnosis. Cashman said Murphy determined there was “clearly some improvement.”
Yankees President Randy Levine and Cashman got on a 15-minute conference call with Tim Lentych, the head athletic trainer at the player development complex in Tampa; Rodriguez; and Jordan Siev, co-head of the U.S. commercial litigation group at Reed Smith, a law firm used by A-Rod pal Jay-Z.
“Just want to make sure that everything is documented properly,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’s statement infuriated Yankees management, which already had told him it determines his return schedule.
Rodriguez, who turns 38 Saturday, earns $153,005 each day during the season, and while he remains on the disabled list much of the money is covered by insurance.
Rodriguez said he’d like to rehab with the major league team, as captain Derek Jeter is doing as he comes back from a quadriceps injury.
But the Yankees seem to regard A-Rod as toxic.
“Obviously, I’m an employee,” he said. “I have to follow my bosses.”
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