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SportsColumnistsDavid Lennon

Alex Rodriguez rehabbing in NY, not Tampa

Alex Rodriguez stands in the infield before a

Alex Rodriguez stands in the infield before a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Photo Credit: AP, 2007


The Yankees believe that New York is the "best place" for Alex Rodriguez right now, as Joe Girardi said Tuesday during his first news conference of spring training at Steinbrenner Field.

But if the manager had been speaking in the Bronx, it's reasonable to think the "best place" for A-Rod would have been Tampa. Or anywhere else roughly 1,200 miles away from the daily operations of this baseball team.

Ultimately, Rodriguez will have to explain why his name appeared on documents linking him to a South Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. First to Major League Baseball, which is very interested to hear his side of the Biogenesis story, and then to the media.

As far as the Yankees are concerned, their recent actions suggest they'd like to postpone that circus for as long as possible, and A-Rod's hip surgery has provided a convenient reason to do so. Girardi gave no indication as to when Rodriguez would show up in Tampa, if at all.

Even with Rodriguez in New York, the Yankees can't make his latest mess go away -- Girardi had to deal with more questions about A-Rod yesterday than any other single topic. So the only other option is to stall, contain any type of A-Rod-related disruption, and hope MLB comes up with a resolution.

A source said Tuesday that Rodriguez had planned all along to stay in New York for his rehab -- even before the Miami New Times story detailed his alleged PED usage -- but it is very unusual for a player to do so.

"I think Alex had somewhat of a special surgery," Girardi said. "It's not a hamstring. It's not something that we've done a lot of, and we feel that -- at this point -- the best place for him to be is New York, rehabbing under the doctor's supervision.

"Now there'll come a point where he's able to do more and that will change. But at this point, I spoke to him last week, he still was barely on crutches, almost off them. There's not a lot that he can do here."

Other than create a public disturbance, which A-Rod has done frequently. Only a week earlier, Brian Cashman refused to disclose a potential arrival date for Rodriguez in order to keep away the "paparazzi." When a reporter suggested A-Rod's absence might help minimize distractions, Girardi shrugged.

"A lot of times, it's a two-day event, a three-day event, and then the story kind of goes away," he said. "It may change for a day or two, but there will be something else that comes up, that we'll have to deal with. So to me, him being in New York has nothing to do with trying to get rid of a distraction. It's the best place for him to be."

While A-Rod remains hidden from the media, Francisco Cervelli will face reporters Wednesday. Unlike A-Rod, who denies any connection to the anti-aging clinic, Cervelli has admitted consulting Biogenesis' Anthony Bosch, but only for "legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery" from a foot injury in 2011.

Cervelli showed up for Tuesday's's official reporting date but said he would wait to address the matter until this morning. There is no timetable of when Rodriguez might do the same, or even join his teammates in Tampa. In the meantime, Girardi and the Yankees intend for this spring training to be business as usual, hopefully without Rodriguez to knock it off course.

"MLB has to go through its steps before any of us are really going to be aware of anything," Girardi said. "My concern is getting him healthy, and that's what I'll focus on, and I think that's our team's focus, too.

"This club is used to having what people might call distractions. But there's things that happen every day in life that you have to deal with. You just deal with it and go on."

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