A-Rod: 'Want to be in the lineup'
Alex Rodriguez says he's ready to rejoin the New York Yankees.
A day after a doctor retained by A-Rod contradicted the team's diagnosis of a strained quadriceps, Rodriguez pushed for the Yankees to activate him from the disabled list for Friday's homestand opener against Tampa Bay.
"I think the Yanks and I crossed signals," the three-time AL MVP said in a 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."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman issued a statement late Wednesday providing the team's view on Rodriguez's strained quadriceps, which derailed the slugger's planned return to the majors after missing all of this season to date. In the statement, Cashman accused the third baseman of being dishonest with the team and even violating MLB's collective bargaining agreement.
Rodriguez, who turns 38 Saturday, has been sidelined since hip surgery in January. He earns $153,005 each day during the season, and while he remains on the disabled list much of his salary is covered by insurance.
He is among the dozen or so players under investigation by Major League Baseball for alleged links to a now-closed clinic accused in media reports of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez has said in the past that he used PEDs from 2001-03 while with Texas but maintained he has not since.
Rodriguez hit .250 (8 for 40) with two homers and eight RBIs in 13 minor league games before the leg injury and had agitated for the Yankees to activate him.
If Rodriguez is healthy, New York could use his bat. Yankees third basemen are hitting .217, ahead of only Cleveland, according to STATS LLC. Their four homers are more than only Miami and their 29 RBIs are 28th in the majors.
New York says team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York-Presbyterian Hospital diagnosed Rodriguez with the quadriceps injury Sunday, when an MRI was taken.
At the behest of Rodriguez, Dr. Michael Gross examined an MRI — but not Rodriguez personally — and said on WFAN radio Wednesday that he could detect no injury.
Cashman said Rodriguez had sought the second opinion in violation of baseball's labor contract, which requires a player to first notify his team in writing.
Gross, an orthopedist, 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. He is the chief of the Division of Sports Medicine and the orthopedic director of The Sports Medicine Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Meanwhile the Yankees' other injured star, captain Derek Jeter, believes he'll be ready to play when eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday.
"I'll play whenever they tell me. I think I could play today," Jeter said after running bases before New York's series finale at Texas on Thursday. "I feel good. I didn't feel my leg, which is good."
The 39-year-old Jeter broke his ankle in the opener of the AL championship series last October and had offseason surgery. A second fracture was discovered while he was rehabbing, delaying his return. He played only four minor league rehabilitation games before rejoining the Yankees.
But Jeter played only one game, returning to the lineup July 11, when he hit the first pitch he saw for an infield single. Later in that game, he strained his right quadriceps in that game, putting him back on the DL.
Jeter said he hadn't felt pain in the area since "a couple of days before the last MRI," which was July 18. But he added that he "wasn't running then. I was walking."