Source: Yankees plan to discipline Alex Rodriguez
The twists and turns continue in the saga of Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees.
The Yankees plan to discipline Rodriguez for seeking a medical opinion outside the guidelines of Major League Baseball's Basic Agreement, a source said Thursday.
"There will be some discipline. [The Yankees] haven't decided what yet," the source said.
Meanwhile, Yankees officials spoke on the telephone with Rodriguez and his attorney Thursday to formulate a plan that could return him to the field early next month.
But it appears Rodriguez is only reluctantly going along.
During an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN, Rodriguez was asked if he trusts the Yankees. He said, "Um, you know, I'd rather not get into that. I'm just frustrated I'm not on the field [Friday night]. I'll leave it at that."
Rodriguez sounded as if he isn't on the same page about his return. "They suggested two plans, either a five-day rehab plan or a seven-day protocol rehab plan," he said. "Obviously, I chose the shorter one. Obviously, I'm very disappointed. I thought [Friday night] would be the perfect night to come back and get in the lineup."
There was no comment from Rodriguez or his representatives on any disciplinary action he might face.
The Yankees could fine Rodriguez, who potentially faces a lengthy suspension from MLB in the Biogenesis probe. A person familiar with the Basic Agreement said there are no prescribed fines and that players can appeal any penalty. MLB does not invoke discipline in such matters.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman refused to discuss the issue with beat reporters Thursday during a conference call that outlined the rehabilitation protocol Rodriguez is expected to follow for the remainder of this month.
Rodriguez, who has been on the disabled list the entire season as he recovers from hip surgery, had an MRI Sunday and was diagnosed with a strained left quadriceps by Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad.
Cashman said he discussed the rehab protocol Thursday with Rodriguez and his lawyer, Jordan Siev, Yankees president Randy Levine and team rehab trainer Tim Lentych. Cashman said the plan calls for further treatment and light conditioning Friday and expands to more functional drills Saturday through Wednesday.
Cashman said Rodriguez said he was "on board" with the new plan. "We walked him through it," he said. " . . . He reiterated on his end that players just want to play, and if it obviously was his choice, he'd be out there Friday. But that's not responsible. Even Jordan Siev said, 'This all makes sense.' So that's where we're at."
Earlier Thursday, Rodriguez released a statement saying he was "ready to play" and that he wanted to be in the lineup Friday night against the Rays at the Stadium.
Rodriguez's potential disciplinary issue with the Yankees stems from his decision to seek another opinion on his quad from Dr. Michael Gross of Hackensack (N.J.) Medical Center. Baseball's Basic Agreement requires players to seek out medical specialists from an approved list after making an official request to their club. The source said Rodriguez contacted the Yankees after Gross gave his impression of the injury.
"He said he felt great, he wanted to play," the source said of Rodriguez. "He did trust Chris Ahmad and that he's seen another doctor. He didn't say who. He was told he could do whatever he wants as long as he follows the procedures. On Wednesday morning, he was called [by the Yankees] at the training facility [in Tampa]. He refused to take the call."
"I think the Yankees and I crossed signals. I don't want any more mixups," Rodriguez said in his statement.
Gross, who did not examine Rodriguez, said Wednesday he did not see evidence of an injury but added that he was not in a position to clear Rodriguez to play.
Cashman said Dr. Dan Murphy, a Tampa orthopedic surgeon and team physician who examined Rodriguez Thursday in Tampa, "concurred completely" with Ahmad's findings. Cashman said there has been some improvement in Rodriguez's quad and that they could have him play a simulated or rehab game by Thursday.
Beyond that, Cashman said, "The hope from the Yankees' end has always been to have Alex back as soon as possible."
Rodriguez arrived at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa at about 10:15 a.m. Thursday and spent about five hours there, leaving without stopping for fans or talking to reporters. Rodriguez was not seen doing any outside baseball activities. Murphy was seen entering and leaving the complex during Rodriguez's time there.
"I made it very clear to everyone I spoke to that I'm ready to go," Rodriguez said on WFAN. "I've had plenty of at-bats, anxious and willing to play. Obviously, I'm an employee, have to follow my bosses."
With Erik Boland in Texas
and Greg Auman in Tampa