- Associated Press - Saturday, August 3, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees turned down requests Saturday to meet with Alex Rodriguez’s camp and the union about the embattled star’s expected drug penalty, two people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.

The overtures were made two days before MLB was poised to hand Rodriguez a lengthy suspension for his part in the Biogenesis case. The two people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, was in Trenton, N.J., playing what could be his last game in a while. He drew four straight walks and scored a run while on a minor league rehabilitation assignment with the Double-A Thunder. He was scheduled to be off Sunday.

The All-Star third baseman said Friday night the Yankees‘ tentative plan was for him to join them in Chicago for Monday night’s game against the White Sox.

Before Rodriguez took the field, his side reached out to the Yankees and union head Michael Weiner contacted MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred. The Yankees and MLB said they had no interest in such talks.

There was always the chance, however, that further negotiations could take place at the last minute.

The New York Post, Daily News and New York Times reported the discussions earlier Saturday.

There hasn’t been any definite word on the severity of Rodriguez’s looming penalty, with speculation ranging from a lifetime ban to a suspension through the 2014 season.

Also possible, according to those familiar with the talks, was a suspension lasting until Aug. 31, 2014, the day before all teams are permitted to expand their rosters from 25 players to 40.

The 38-year-old Rodriguez hasn’t played in the majors this season. The three-time American League MVP is recovering from hip surgery and a strained quadriceps.

A day after Rodriguez homered for Trenton, Thunder manager Tony Franklin hedged on whether A-Rod was ready to rejoin the majors.

“That’s not for me to say,” Franklin said. “His swing is getting better. He’s running better. He’s doing the baseball things OK right now. But that’s a different game up there.”

“I think he can handle it because he’s been there for a number of years,” he said. “I don’t think he’ll be surprised by anything on the baseball field despite what’s going on now. He’s been one of the best baseball players I have ever seen. Once they decide he’s ready to go back, I don’t think he’ll have any trouble adapting at all.”

Rodriguez certainly had no trouble tracking balls, drawing three of his four walks on full-count pitches against Reading. He swung through a 91 mph fastball on a 3-0 pitch his third time up in the fifth and flipped his bat.

A high-and-tight fastball backed him off the plate in the seventh, and he turned and smiled, thankful the pitch didn’t hit him.

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