Alex Rodriguez accepts Yanks' plan
The Alex Rodriguez-New York Yankees soap opera was a five-part miniseries Thursday, culminating in A-Rod again declaring he was ready to play now but -- since he is just "an employee" -- that he would accept the Yankees' plan to have him start a rehab assignment Aug. 1.
If all goes according to plan with the quad and if he is not suspended by baseball in the interim, A-Rod could return to the Yankees soon after Aug. 1. Rodriguez told WFAN radio in New York on Thursday evening that he chose to do a five-day rehab, which could put him back in the lineup by Aug. 6 against the White Sox.
"Obviously, I'm an employee. I have to follow my bosses and I was on the phone with both of my bosses. They said there is a protocol," Rodriguez said on WFAN.
While both sides agreed to the plan and said publicly they wanted Rodriguez back on the field, the level of mistrust and animosity continues. Sources told ESPNNewYork.com the Yankees are "likely" to fine Rodriguez because he sought a second opinion without notifying the team in writing in advance.
Rodriguez did speak with team president Randy Levine late Tuesday night, ESPNNewYork.com has learned. Rodriguez, according to sources with knowledge of the conversation, told Levine that he did not trust the Yankees' team doctor, Chris Ahmad. On Thursday, Rodriguez was examined by another doctor, Dan Murphy, in Tampa, Fla.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Murphy concurred with Ahmad's original diagnosis from Sunday of a Grade 1 strain. Afterward, Rodriguez and one of his lawyers, Jordan Siev, had a conference call with Cashman and Levine during which a new rehab protocol was laid out, calling for a course of treatment that will take Rodriguez through the rest of July.
"Just want to make sure that everything is documented and there are no more mix-ups like I said today," Rodriguez said on WFAN when asked why the lawyer was present.
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Around lunchtime Thursday, Rodriguez released a statement saying: "I think the Yanks and I crossed signals. I'm excited and ready to play and help this team win a championship. I feel great and I'm ready and want to be in the lineup Friday night. Enough doctors. Let's play."
Cashman said the hope was Rodriguez would be able to play in a rehab game Aug. 1.
"I can't tell you anything past the Aug. 1 date," Cashman said. "If everything goes right, I don't think you're looking at much longer past that date. We just need to cross off every box that needs to be checked. We're just following the normal course of action. So, hopefully, really soon after we hit that Aug. 1 date when we can get him in a [simulated] game or rehab game. Hopefully, it's not very long."
Rodriguez, who will turn 38 on Saturday, is trying to return from the quad injury and his second hip operation. He also is in danger of being suspended by MLB because of his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.
The bad feelings between Rodriguez and the Yankees over his injuries date back to this past October. Rodriguez thinks Ahmad should have found his hip injury during the playoffs. Rodriguez struggled in the postseason, going 3-for-25 with no extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts, which eventually led to his being benched and pinch hit for during the American League Division Series and Championship Series.
It turned out that Rodriguez had a serious hip injury. A source said Rodriguez told the team during the playoffs that he never felt better and mentioned a problem with his hip only after he was pinch hit for the first time in the ALDS.
The source said Rodriguez was examined by his original hip doctor, Marc Philippon, who also found no injury in the right hip.
"He blames Dr. Ahmad for missing his hip injury? He missed his own hip injury," a Yankees official said.
It turned out that Rodriguez, who previously had surgery on his right hip, needed an operation on his left hip.
Cashman -- who told A-Rod to "shut the f--- up" exactly one month ago -- refused to comment on whether he was angry about the events of the week. He also would not say why Rodriguez felt the need to have a lawyer on the call with him.
"You're going to get a lot of no comments out of me today, just to warn you guys," Cashman said. "Obviously, the most important thing is to try to get you guys the most accurate information possible, and I know that's what you're interested in."
Rodriguez said he has not considered filing a grievance against the Yankees.
"I haven't even thought about a grievance," he said. "I'm like most players. I want to play and I want to compete, but at the end of the day, I have bosses and I have to listen."