NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez’s already strained relationship with the New York Yankees hit another low when he pushed to be activated from the disabled list Friday, the team refused and he had a lawyer join the discussion of his injury rehabilitation.
Already a target of Major League Baseball’s drug investigation, 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 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 early Thursday saying he wanted to be activated for Friday’s homestand opener against Tampa Bay. But that wasn’t in the Yankees’ plans.
“We agreed that a protocol would be followed that is necessary when you return somebody from a quad injury,” General Manager Brian Cashman said during a conference call with the team’s beat writers. “That protocol will include further treatment, which he’ll continue tomorrow with some light conditioning, and then expand to more functional work from the 27th through the 31st. Our hope, as well as Alex’s hope, without any setbacks or new complaints, is that would put him in a situation to have either a simulated game or a rehab game on Aug. 1.”
A-Rod was miffed.
“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.”
He repeatedly said he told the Yankees that he was ready to return.
“Tomorrow night would be the perfect night to come back and get in the lineup,” he said.
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 would 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 maintains he has not used them since.
The Yankees intend to discipline A-Rod for seeking a second medical opinion without their permission, a person familiar with the team’s deliberations said. The exact penalty had not been determined.