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After the game, Rodriguez said he had started the process of filing a grievance against the Yankees and that it’s the responsibility of the players’ union to file it formally.

Asked if it’s difficult to play for a team he’s at odds with, Rodriguez said, “it’s just important for me to focus on the team and helping the team win. It is a very challenging situation.”

Other major leaguers also have spoken out, criticizing players penalized for using performance-enhancing drugs for the damage they’ve done to baseball. Boston pitcher John Lackey recently said he had a problem with Rodriguez being allowed to play while his suspension is under appeal.

Girardi said O’Nora should have issued a warning to Dempster after the first pitch to Rodriguez and Dempster should have been ejected.

“You have to have your head in the sand with the comments that came from the other side not to know that something might be up,” Girardi said. “I thought it was handled very poorly.”

Before the game, Cashman specifically took issue with Rodriguez and his new lawyer, defending the team’s medical treatment of the star third baseman during last year’s playoffs.

Over the weekend, lawyer Joseph Tacopina told The New York Times that the Yankees tried to make Rodriguez look bad, claiming they used him in the playoffs while he was hurt. The three-time AL MVP went 3 for 25 with 12 strikeouts in the 2012 postseason.

“I know that our medical staff did everything they possibly can to assist Alex, help Alex, diagnose Alex and give him the best proper medical care,” Cashman said.

Cashman said Rodriguez never complained of any problem during the playoffs until Girardi pulled him for a pinch-hitter in a key spot.

This weekend, Rodriguez said: “I shouldn’t have been out there last year.”

Cashman disputed that stance. He didn’t like how the message was delivered, either.

“Did he ever say he didn’t feel right? He never said it,” the GM said.

“You see the attorney say what he said and Alex is talking to you guys after the game and it seems like when I’m reading the comments, it’s like, `I can’t really comment.’ It’s as if he doesn’t know anything about it, which we all know he really does,” Cashman said.

Rodriguez said he hoped he could reconcile with team management.

“I’d rather have the lawyers doing all the talking and I’m going to do all the playing,” he said.

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