- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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MOOSIC, Pa. -- Tightness in the front of his left thigh forced Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup for a rehab game Sunday with Triple-A Scranton, putting his plans to rejoin the New York Yankees on Monday in flux.
Rodriguez was headed to New York to have an MRI on the strained quadriceps at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the team later confirmed.
Sunday was the final day of Rodriguez's allowable 20-day rehab stint. The Yankees must now decide whether to recall Rodriguez to the majors or keep him on the disabled list.
General manager Brian Cashman has said he expected Rodriguez to return to the Yankees on Monday if he makes it through his final rehab games without incident. It is unclear if Rodriguez's quadriceps injury will impact those plans.
Speaking to reporters on his way out of Scranton's PNC Field, Rodriguez said he was optimistic about joining the Yankees in Texas, though he ruled out the possibility of playing on Monday.
"I spoke to Cashman, [manager Joe] Girardi and the plan is pretty much as scheduled as 20 days ago with one exception: get an MRI, get on a flight to Texas, probably get a workout tomorrow and strap it on Tuesday," Rodriguez said. "I do feel confident, between the MRI and having whole staff sign off, and we'll play Tuesday. I think that's all we can do."
Rodriguez said he first felt tightness in his left quad after running the bases and sliding in Friday night's game with Triple-A Scranton. That tightness forced him to move from third base to designated hitter on Saturday.
"I would be surprised if he plays Monday," manager Joe Girardi said.
Rodriguez was visibly upset when speaking to reporters on Saturday night. He said he was downtrodden because he'd suffered an injury at the tail end of a long rehab. But his outlook changed on Sunday.
"I'm more optimistic than last night," Rodriguez said. "We have two obstacles: the MRI and the workout."
He later added: "I think we're all being very smart here. With the year we've had, it's better to be on the cautious side, the conservative side. Cashman and I had a productive conversation. I think we have a good plan."
Rodriguez, who will turn 38 on Saturday, is trying to return from a second hip surgery. He has not played in a major league game since the 2012 postseason, during which he went 3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts. He was pinch hit for and benched during the playoffs.
In his 13-game rehab stint, Rodriguez is 8-for-40 with two homers and 11 strikeouts.
He's also had a tough time in the field and on the base paths.
Rodriguez has stated that he is "several weeks" behind where he'd like to be in the field and that he ran "slowly" on the bases Friday.
Looming over Rodriguez's potential return is his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has reported Rodriguez and as many as 20 other players are expected to be suspended for their relationship with Anthony Bosch, the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, who allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to the players. Rodriguez has denied the allegations. When asked directly about his involvement with Biogenesis earlier this week, Rodriguez said, "I appreciate you asking that question. But due to the process, we're not allowed to comment on that. But with due time, we'll talk about that."
Rodriguez is expected to be suspended when the penalties come down. There is no set date when they will be announced, though they are expected at some point in the second half of the season.
However, players' association executive director Michael Weiner said the appeal process may take long enough that suspensions would not take place until 2014.
If that were the case, it may help the Yankees' goal of getting their payroll under $189 million to take advantage of financial incentives in the collective bargaining agreement.
For every 50 games that Rodriguez would be suspended, the Yankees would save around $7.5 million.
As things stand currently, the Yankees still owe Rodriguez around $100 million on a contract that runs through the 2017 season, when he will be 42. Rodriguez can make an additional $6 million if he hits 13 or more home runs for the Yankees, which would give him 660 in his career, tying him with Willie Mays for fourth all time. In the contract, there is a grand total of $30 million in home run milestone bonuses, which were agreed upon prior to Rodriguez's being revealed by Sports Illustrated as a PED user.
During his rehab, the Yankees have asked Rodriguez to try to avoid any controversy. Toward the end of last month, he angered team officials when he tweeted about his rehab schedule; the organization's protocol is for the team to announce it.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand was used in this report.
20hAndrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews