Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wants gimpy superstar Alex Rodriguez to know that a doctor clearing him to play doesn’t mean the third baseman can just hop back on the field.
Apparently, Rodriguez agrees — just not the way everyone thought.
In a week full of firestorms after Rodriguez said a doctor had cleared him to play and Cashman angrily retorted that the team would decide that, Rodriguez has now told the Yankees that he’s not ready to take the field, the New York Post reports. This comes at the same time as reports saying Rodriguez thinks the Yankees are trying to delay his return so they can skip out on his contract and collect insurance money instead.
The Post says Rodriguez told Yankees officials Wednesday that he can’t start his rehab time in the minor leagues because his hip isn’t ready.
“He is not ready to play in games,” the Post reports a source as saying. “He is worried about his health.”
If Rodriguez ends up playing again soon, he could say later that he felt rushed back because the Yankees sounded like they didn’t want him to play. Or, he could not play and then use that as an excuse if the Yankees try to void his contract in some way. His remarks appear to set him up to have it both ways.
The Yankees and Rodriguez were said to have smoothed over the mess via phone calls Wednesday night, with Cashman publicly apologizing for his outburst. But a lesser problem than the hip — bruised egos — appears to be the new focus of the back-and-forth.
While Rodriguez has always found it hard to win the love of fans in New York, he’s usually had the public support of his club, which was what was most surprising about Cashman’s comments. But, with Rodriguez dealing with another serious injury as well as allegations from Major League Baseball about links to a Miami clinic that distributed performance-enhancing drugs, the Yankees haven’t always had his back in recent days.
Rodriguez may be using one of the few chips he has left to get himself back in the fight.