A-Rod faces fine of one day's pay

Updated: August 11, 2013, 9:20 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Missing a day of work without the permission of the New York Yankees could wind up costing Alex Rodriguez more than $150,000.

Rodriguez, who is currently playing pending appeal of the 211-game suspension handed to him by commissioner Bud Selig on Monday for violating baseball's drug policy, was hand-delivered a letter written by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman before Friday night's game against the Detroit Tigers, as first reported by ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand.

According to sources familiar with the letter's content, the club reprimanded Rodriguez for his recent actions surrounding his rehab assignment. Those actions include seeking a second medical opinion without giving the Yankees prior notice, and failing to show up at the ballpark on July 12 after meeting with MLB officials to discuss the evidence against him in baseball's investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis clinic suspected of being a source of illegal PEDs.

The Yankees have already fined Francisco Cervelli, who accepted MLB's 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis, the equivalent of one day's pay for failing to show up for treatment on his injured hand and shoulder on July 28. According to a club source, Rodriguez likely would be fined accordingly for what the Yankees consider a similar offense.

Two sources who have seen the letter said part of it reads: "The club contemplates discipline for your most recent violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement." Although no specific punishment is mentioned, $153,005 is equivalent to one day's pay [based on 183 days] under Rodriguez's contract, which calls for him to earn $28 million for 2013.

According to a team source, Cervelli failed to report to work or contact the team, and had to be tracked down by a team trainer. Cervelli said he was "too stressed out" to come to the Yankees' developmental complex in Tampa, Fla., after learning he was about to be suspended, the source said.

At Cervelli's pay grade -- he is earning $515,350 this year -- his fine amounts to $2,816.

Any fine is subject to appeal through the grievance procedure laid out in the CBA.

Asked about the receipt of the letter before Friday's game,  Rodriguez at first said, "It has not happened." Then, he acknowledged, "Maybe they sent it to my lawyers. But I'm not really going to talk about that."

A source with knowledge of the letter's contents, however, said Rodriguez was among seven recipients of it, including his attorney, David Cornwell, MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner, MLB executive Rob Manfred and Yankees team president Randy Levine.

Sources close to Rodriguez believe the timing of the letter's delivery was yet another ploy by the Yankees to unsettle A-Rod before his first home game since the suspension, at which it was expected he would receive negative fan reaction.

But a source familiar with the Yankees' thinking scoffed at the theory.

"You think a letter like that is going to (mess) him up?" the source said. "This guy's got legal stuff going on all the time. This is just a gnat compared to everything he's got going on."

Rodriguez received a mixed reception Friday night, receiving both loud boos and cheers by a polarized sellout crowd. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Yankees' 4-3, 10-inning victory against the Tigers.

A-Rod was removed for defensive replacement Jayson Nix with the Yankees leading 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and so was not on the field when closer Mariano Rivera allowed the Tigers to tie the game on Miguel Cabrera's two-run home run. Nor was he seen on the field during the postgame celebration following Brett Gardner's game-winning single, and he was not in Joe Girardi's lineup for Saturday's 9-3 loss to the Tigers, a move the manager said had more to do with the duration of the game and the quick turnaround.

"It's day by day," Girardi said. "He's coming off an injury and just trying to manage it and make sure we keep him on the field the rest of the year. I'm just trying to be proactive in this and make sure that we don't run him into the ground where he ends up hurting something else."

Added Rodriguez: "Joe and I have great communications. I have great trust and respect for him. He's going to manage it properly."

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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