A-Rod wants to be activated; Yankees refuse

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The exact penalty had not been determined, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because no statements were authorized. A fine appeared to be the most likely option.

Meantime, Rodriguez’s return from hip surgery has created more drama than most players experience in their entire careers.

Seemingly days away from rejoining the Yankees, Rodriguez injured a leg last weekend and was sent to New York for an MRI on Sunday. Team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad diagnosed a grade 1 strain, the least severe level.

Dr. Michael Gross, the orthopedic director of The Sports Medicine Institute at Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center, was retained by Rodriguez and said on WFAN on Wednesday that he examined an MRI and could not detect an injury. Gross, who never examined Rodriguez personally, was reprimanded this year by New Jersey’s board of medical examiners over steroid prescriptions, fined $30,000 and ordered to pay $10,000 in costs.

Rodriguez was re-examined Thursday by Dr. Daniel Murphy, the Yankees‘ orthopedic surgeon in Tampa, Fla., who confirmed Ahmad’s diagnosis. Cashman said Murphy determined there was “clearly some improvement.”

Yankees President Randy Levine and Cashman got on a 15-minute conference call with Tim Lentych, the head athletic trainer at the player development complex in Tampa; Rodriguez; and Jordan Siev, co-head of the U.S. commercial litigation group at Reed Smith, a law firm used by A-Rod pal Jay-Z.

A-Rod is baseball’s highest-paid player with a $28 million salary this year and is owed $86 million more in the next four seasons. He sounded like a man who anticipated having to fight for his money.

“Just want to make sure that everything is documented properly,” he said.

Siev did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Earlier Thursday, Rodriguez issued a statement provocative to a team that already has told him it determines his return schedule, not him.

“I think the Yanks and I crossed signals,” the three-time AL MVP said in the statement issued by spokesman Ron Berkowitz. “I don’t want any more mixups. 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.”

Rodriguez, who turns 38 Saturday, earns $153,005 each day during the season, and while he remains on the disabled list much of the money is covered by insurance.

Rodriguez has hit .250 (8 for 40) with two homers and eight RBIs in 13 minor league games. About a week before he began the injury rehab assignment on July 2, Rodriguez tweeted that the surgeon who operated on his hip “gave me the best news - the green light to play games again!”

Cashman memorably responded: “Alex should just shut the … up.”

If Rodriguez is healthy, New York could use his bat. Yankees third basemen began Thursday hitting .217, ahead of only Cleveland, according to STATS. Their four homers are more than only Miami and their 29 RBIs are 28th in the majors.

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