Continued from page 1

“I want him back with us. This is arguably one of the best hitters of all time,” he said. “Having him in the lineup is obviously going to be very positive for us.”

New York is a season-high 9 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East and 4 1/2 out in the race for the second wild-card spot.

“We’re going to be happy to see him back in the lineup, especially the way we’ve been playing,” second baseman Robinson Cano said. “He can come up and help us win some games.”

Since spring training, the union has said it will consider stiffer penalties starting in 2014.

“The home runs that are hit because a guy’s on performance-enhancing substances, those ruin somebody’s ERA, which ruins their arbitration case, which ruins their salary,” Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said. “So it’s a whole domino effect.”

Though they lose part of their salaries, stats and awards are safe for baseball players penalized in drug cases. Nothing is stripped from any record book.

That’s not always the case in other sports.

Doping cost Lance Armstrong his seven Tour de France cycling titles and stripped away Olympic gold medals from sprinters Ben Johnson and Marion Jones.

Rodriguez completed his second minor league injury rehabilitation assignment on Saturday night, a two-day stay at Double-A Trenton. Rodriguez walked in all four plate appearances, a day after hitting a two-run homer.

Following Friday night’s game, Rodriguez all but said he thought MLB and the Yankees were conspiring to keep him from getting back to the big leagues.

“There is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field. And that’s not my teammates and it’s not the Yankee fans,” he said, adding: “When all this stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that’s concerning for me.”

He last played in October, going 3 for 25 (.120) with no RBIs in the playoffs. Rodriguez is owed $8,568,306 of his $28 million salary from Monday through the rest of the season and $86 million for the final four years of his contract with the Yankees.

Girardi didn’t think A-Rod’s arrival would create more turmoil than the Yankees already are used to.

“I don’t suspect it’ll be awkward. Most of these guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot,” he said. “I think it’ll be business as usual. I’m sure there will be more media there, obviously, tomorrow, but I think that’s probably more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don’t think it’ll be a big deal.”

There have been 43 suspensions under the major league drug agreement since testing with penalties for first offenses started in 2005. The longest penalty served has been a 100-game suspension by San Francisco pitcher Guillermo Mota for a positive test for Clenbuterol, his second drug offense.

Story Continues →