MLB

A-Rod decries mix-ups, lobbies for Fri. play

07/25 1:35 PM

Alex Rodriguez issued a statement saying he wants to be in the Yankees lineup Friday.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A day after he permitted a doctor to go on a media tour offering a second opinion on the state of his injured quad, Alex Rodriguez on Thursday offered his own opinion, saying he's ready to play Friday.

Rodriguez released a statement that read as follows: "I think the Yanks and I crossed signals. I don't want any more mix-ups. 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."

The statement comes after Rodriguez and the Yankees differed over the health of the third baseman's quadriceps and happens in the shadow of the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

As recently as Tuesday night, Rodriguez told Yankees president Randy Levine that he did not trust the team's doctor, sources have told ESPN New York.

On Tuesday at 11 p.m., Rodriguez called Levine to tell him his injured quad was fine and that he wanted to return to the field as soon as possible. In an effort to make his case stronger, Rodriguez said he had sought a second opinion on his injured quad. Rodriguez would not share with Levine the name of the doctor who had done the examination, a source said.

Levine asked Rodriguez why he would seek a second opinion after Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad had diagnosed a Grade 1 quad strain Sunday. The prognosis prevented Rodriguez from returning to the majors this week.

"What, you don't trust Dr. Ahmad?" Levine asked Rodriguez, according to sources with knowledge of the conversation.

Rodriguez, according to the same sources, responded, "No, I don't trust Dr. Ahmad."

Rodriguez, 37, feels that Ahmad should have found his hip injury during last October's playoffs. Rodriguez struggled during the postseason, going 3-for-25 with zero extra-base hits and 12 strikeouts, which eventually led to him being benched and pinch hit for during the ALDS and ALCS. It turned out that Rodriguez had a serious hip injury.

A source said Rodriguez told the team during the playoffs that he never felt better and mentioned a problem with his hip only after he was pinch hit for the first time in the ALDS. The source said Rodriguez was examined by his original hip doctor, Marc Philippon, who also found no injury in the right hip.

"He blames Dr. Ahmad for missing his hip injury? He missed his own hip injury," a Yankee official said.

It turned out that Rodriguez, who previously had surgery on his right hip, needed an operation on his left hip.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but in an earlier phone conversation with ESPNNewYork.com, he said the Yankees wanted Rodriguez back in their lineup as soon as possible.

Since Sunday, however, Rodriguez has done no baseball activity. Asked before Rodriguez issued his statement if the slugger would be in the Yankees lineup Friday night, Cashman said, "You'll just have to wait and see."

Rodriguez's statement may seek to put distance between Rodriguez and Dr. Michael Gross, who on Wednesday appeared on several radio shows and gave numerous media interviews casting doubt on the Yankees diagnosis of a Grade 1 strain in Rodriguez's left quad. Gross said he did not examine Rodriguez in person.

"To be perfectly honest, I don't see any sort of injury there," Gross said on a radio show, having read the MRI performed by the Yankees on Sunday after Rodriguez removed himself from a rehab game complaining of tightness in his left quad.

After the original diagnosis by Ahmad, the Yankees returned Rodriguez to the disabled list, but the $275 million third baseman has been publicly lobbying the Yankees to activate him and earlier in the week sent an email to Cashman informing him he was ready to play and wanted to be in the lineup Friday night when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at home.

By calling Levine on Tuesday, Rodriguez felt he properly informed the Yankees that he had received a second opinion, according to sources, and therefore did not violate the collective bargaining agreement, which prohibits players from going for a second opinion without the team's consent.

According to Article XIII, Paragraph D of the CBA, "a Player shall inform the Club in writing" before seeking a second medical opinion. Players are also supposed to use a shared list of doctors, which Gross, the chief of orthopedics at Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey, is not on.

From the Yankees' point of view, Rodriguez did not follow the proper protocol.

"I heard via a text message this afternoon from Alex Rodriguez that he had retained a doctor to review his medical situation," Cashman said in a statement Tuesday. "In media reports, we have since learned that the doctor in question has acknowledged that he did not examine Mr. Rodriguez and that he was not retained to do a comprehensive medical examination of Mr. Rodriguez. Contrary to the Basic Agreement, Mr. Rodriguez did not notify us at any time that he was seeking a second opinion from any doctor with regard to his quad strain."

Cashman and Rodriguez have put out statements in the past two days saying they both want A-Rod to return to Yankees.

In the meantime, Rodriguez is in Tampa, Fla., as the Yankees project him to be out at least another week or two before possibly going on another minor league rehab assignment. Major League Baseball is said to be winding down its investigation into the Biogenesis scandal and could punish Rodriguez soon.

Rodriguez left the Yankees minor league complex Thursday without stopping to speak with reporters after spending close to five hours inside the building.


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