When Alex Rodriguez returned from his hip surgery, the Yankees spoke glowingly about the work his surgeon and rehab specialist were doing. To listen to them talk, Dr. Marc Philippon and Dr. Mark Lindsay are the two best at what they do.
Based on all available information, that seems to be exactly the case. They are the best.
According to Rodriguez, the plan put in place by Philippon and Lindsay was for him to take 5-8 games off during his first 45 games back with the team. Not 45 days, 45 games.
But over the first 38 games he was back, A-Rod sat out zero games. He started every one of them, 35 of them at third base. Day games after night games, rain-delayed games, every single game.
A-Rod said he fought to stay in games, which is what he supposed to do. Knowing him, I’m sure that’s exactly what he did. But why didn’t the Yankees stick with the plan their doctors drew up? All of a sudden a third baseman with a high school education knew better than the two best doctors in their respective fields? Of course Alex said he wanted to play. What else would he say?
Joe Girardi admitted yesterday that he should have given Alex more days off than he did. It appears that Brian Cashman finally forced the issue yesterday. But he should have made that call a week ago. A-Rod has been struggling for three weeks now. His June slugging percentage is .291. Teams have been intentionally walking other players to get to him.
Now they’re going to sit the guy down for two days and hope that rejuvenates him. It’s the Philippon/Lindsay plan in a condensed version.
Tom Verducci had a great stat yesterday: Alex is hitting .246 since he turned 33 last July 27. If you look at those numbers more closely, he has an .880 OPS. That’s pretty good compared to most players. But he was at .969 before that. He also has stolen only five bases in his last 96 games.
Whether it’s his hip, his age, his use of PEDs for three years, his personal issues or whatever, Alex is in a steep decline and the Yankees have to figure out a way to stabilize that and get something out of him. Otherwise that $258 million they owe him through 2017 is going to go down as the worst contract in sports history.
Maybe it already is.