Brian Cashman fires back at A-Rod camp
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BOSTON -- Brian Cashman escalated the warfare between the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez by calling his third baseman a liar who has created a "litigious environment" unlike anything he has ever seen during his 16 years as general manager.
Cashman lashed back at Rodriguez, as well as the accusations by the player's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, during a 27-minute dugout session with reporters before Sunday night's 9-6 win by the Yankees at Fenway Park. The general manager said he's no longer "comfortable" talking with Rodriguez beyond "hello" because of the hostile nature of his relationship with the Yankees and added that he believes A-Rod has been dishonest in his dealings with the team.
After supporting Yankees president Randy Levine, who a day earlier challenged Rodriguez to "put up or shut up" with his assertions of medical mistreatment, Cashman cited the recent example of A-Rod going outside the team's medical staff to consult Dr. Michael Gross after telling the GM directly he "had no problem" with the Yankees' doctors.
"How do you handle that?" Cashman said. "I felt like Katie Couric, because I know, at that moment of time, I was lied to."
Cashman was referring to the 2007 "60 Minutes" interview in which Rodriguez told Couric he had never used performance-enhancing drugs. Two years later, A-Rod admitted that he did take PEDs during a three-year period with the Rangers beginning in 2001.
But Cashman didn't stop there. He insisted that Tacopina's allegations about the Yankees' medical staff are "odd" and "false," with Rodriguez himself "fighting" to stay in the lineup during last year's playoffs.
"It's all factual," Cashman said. "It's in the medical training log. He's got no complaints -- publicly or privately. The bottom line is he wasn't getting treatment for anything. No complaints. Nothing."
When Rodriguez finally did mention some discomfort after Game 3 of the ALDS, it was for his right hip, Cashman said. He said that MRI came back negative for structural damage and Rodriguez was cleared to play. Three months later, he had surgery to repair his left hip.
"He met with Joe [Girardi] separately," Cashman said, "and he was like, 'Don't give up on me. Put me back in there.' Which contradicts his own comments. I see his attorney talking about running him out there 'like an invalid,' I guess he's also lumping Alex in that because, again, I don't get it. He was fighting to play."
Rodriguez was involved in plenty of excitement on the field Sunday night, too. He was hit by a pitch from Ryan Dempster in the second inning and homered off him in the sixth.
According to a report on ESPN Sunday night, Rodriguez paid for Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch's attorney and later made a wire transfer for nearly $50,000 that Bosch's attorney refused to accept, Bosch's attorneys told "Outside the Lines.''
The second transfer, described by one of Rodriguez's former attorneys as a mistake, is part of Major League Baseball's evidence that Rodriguez attempted to tamper with the league's Biogenesis investigation, several sources said. The now-defunct anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., is at the center of the ongoing drug scandal.
A spokesman for Bosch attorney Susy Ribero-Ayala said in a statement to "Outside the Lines'' on Sunday that Rodriguez paid her a $25,000 retainer to defend Bosch in February.
"A retainer was paid [via wire transfer] by a representative of Alex Rodriquez [sic]. Ms. Ribero-Ayala accepted this payment on behalf of Anthony Bosch as payment for his legal representation,'' the statement says.
The statement says the second payment was unexpected.
A-Rod's camp already has opened up another front in this ongoing war that looks as if it might not end with the arbitration battle over his 211-game suspension. Sources confirmed Sunday that Rodriguez's reps already have begun the process to file a medical grievance with the players association and that it started roughly two weeks ago, or about the time Rodriguez hired Tacopina.
When told of the pending grievance, Cashman shrugged. He spent most of the afternoon defending his entire medical organization -- from the trainers to the orthopedists -- in saying that Rodriguez's accusations were baseless.
Even now, it's a potentially dangerous situation with A-Rod still a member of the team yet attacking the club. Cashman said he has declared war on "the whole organization -- the team," so how can he be sure that A-Rod won't find any ammunition for any future litigation?
"Is this an unusual circumstance? Absolutely," Cashman said. "It's odd and it's false. But we still have to go through the motions. We're stuck right now. Regardless. We're stuck in the middle of a suspension, an appeal process, and we have games going on. I can't speak for others, but I know it's definitely a distraction for me.''
When asked if any players or other members of the team had complained to him about the Rodriguez havoc, the GM said only, "I'm not going to comment on that." Cashman also declined to say whether the Yankees would consider it worthwhile just to release Rodriguez rather than continue to deal with the drama. A-Rod is owed roughly $86 million through 2017.
"That's not something for me," Cashman said. "I don't think that's something that would be considered, personally."
Rodriguez, who passed on speaking with reporters before the game, did not address his lawyer's comments Saturday, saying he needed to read them first. That probably was a relief for the Yankees, who have been forced to deal with the unwelcome sideshow on a daily basis.
Since his Aug. 5 return, Rodriguez has maintained that he wants to focus on baseball, but Tacopina's assault Saturday definitely changed the conversation as the Yankees claw to get back in the playoff race.
"Listen, none of this stuff is productive," Cashman said. "Being involved with Biogenesis isn't productive -- the allegations at least of being involved with Biogenesis. The last thing any of us want is to be dealing with this. It's a unique circumstance."
So unique, in fact, that Cashman found it hard to comprehend the allegations, which he described as "explosive." He also was stunned by Tacopina's accusation that Levine told Dr. Bryan Kelly, the orthopedist who performed A-Rod's January hip surgery, that he didn't "ever want to see him on the field again."
"I was on every conference call with Dr. Kelly, with Randy," Cashman said, "and I can tell you that did not happen."
With Erik Boland