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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Cashman expresses regret about choice of words

Posted by: vmercogliano - Posted in Misc on Jun 26, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Alex RodriguezOpening Statement: “I regret the choice of words that I used yesterday in my conversation with ESPN New York but otherwise let’s open it up for questions
Have you spoken with Alex since last night?…“I have not. Alex today, spoke with our owner. Hal Steinbrenner was working out at the complex where Alex was rehabbing. So Alex grabbed Hal and they had a conversation. Hal reiterated about the way (Alex tweeted). He did it a in a more professional way maybe than I did about managing from the top down rather than from the bottom up, which obviously is how I reacted from yesterday’s tweeting and contradicting statements and things of that nature.”
Do you think Alex got the message?... “He got the message I know. He obviously had a nice conversation with Hal, according to Hal. Obviously my message was a bit different.”
Is there a start date?… “He’s getting close. I know Dr. Kelly was down there and Dr. Kelly was obviously the operating surgeon at HSSS (Hospital for Special Surgery) and he was down there because we have a number of prospects that I think Kelly has worked with so this wasn’t even Kelly clearing him. I just think Kelly was just caught up in a tweet and a picture of a tweet while he was down at the complex he obviously saw Alex too but our doctors were obviously the ones running the rehab process now since he’s been released. When he went from New York to Tampa he went into the hands of our staff and our doctors.”
Why did you get so mad?… “The last two days, first it was an article about was a rehab date set which we hadn’t set a rehab date. So I spent a day dealing with that. The next day was yesterday where obviously our guys on the field are competing and I’m trying to lock in on an important game and I wind up on the phone dealing with a tweet… From Alex’s perspective, he’s not trying to create a disturbance by tweeting it this way. I know that but at the same time it affects our media relations director, it affects me now that you have to pull away from the business at hand whatever it is at that moment in time to having again to handle something that I think is unnecessary and we’re doing it from managing from the top down instead of from the bottom up. It was an unnecessary distraction. It was unnecessary extra work that not just myself but other people have to deal with. Obviously timing is everything and the timing of that on the second day was something that with the pressure valve that I have which is something 99 times out of a 100, I roll it pretty good. I didn’t roll it this one well at all. So I popped and that’s it. I sounded off, reality TV at its best.”
Did Hal say anything about your choice of words?… “Hal said to me basically that I’m sure you knew when you said it, that that was an issue and that you would regret it. I said you’re right, I did. It’s not the normal way that I conduct myself clearly. But listen when you’re managing something big and you’re having to adjust on the run, sometimes you adjust extremely well and sometimes you adjust not as well as you could have category and would go in the not as well as you could have category… It doesn’t change the message. The message is it’s like anything else. This isn’t the first time that I’ve had to deal with this situation. Social media is creating a lot of circumstances that kind of put the club secondary… We want to control the message and when and I don’t feel like I should be put in a position to have to react to stuff that is in our purview and when he is cleared and when his rehab games are supposed to begin, we’ll talk about it. We want Alex back as soon as we possibly can get him. There’s no doubt about it. That’s not an issue. It’s just creating extra work by putting it out different pieces of information.”
Is it OK for other players to tweet updates about rehabbing their injuries?... “Whatever Mark was tweeting, it doesn’t come across my desk. I don’t know if he just tweeting out, hey got a couple of reps in, feel good. That’s fine. I know Alex created the twitter account, two weeks ago, three weeks ago, a month ago and i know he’s tweeted out lifting and feeling good and stuff like that but I never got calls on that… But this was a 48 hour period of rehab games being cleared for that I already covered the day before and the picture of Dr. Kelly and him is fine.  It’s a great picture but Kelly’s not clearing his rehabbing so it’s just not accurate that’s all. So with the extra stuff, the extra work and believe me with the season that we have had so far, I got a lot of extra work and I’m all for it. I’m all up for it. I’m used to dealing with unnecessary stuff but clearly the timing of this, I was you know what, I don’t want to deal with this and this is false hustle right now. So you got some reality, raw emotion back on how I felt like having to deal with something that I felt was unnecessary.”
This creates the perception of a rift between the team and Rodriguez:…“That comes and goes. You’re going to have disagreements at times. You’re going to have conflicts at times. Relationships get strong, they get weak, they get better, they get worse over time and it’s up to everybody involved to try and keep things together. So my response was having to deal with some extra work that I felt was not necessary. But make no mistake if Alex Rodriguez is healthy we want him and I want him playing third base for us yesterday and he’s doing everything in his power to get here to do that and we’re clearly a better team with him. That’s not the issue. There’s no we’re not holding him back, we’re not trying to hold him back we’re obviously taking it every step of the process. The other frustrating side was the last conversation we had with Alex and his representatives a few months back was that whatever we do, we’ll do it together. Whatever messages are put out and once he goes to Tampa, we’re just going to let him go and we’ll give updates about what he did that day but not projection dates. So obviously he just got off (message) in his excitement about whatever conversations he had with Kelly, he kind of went off the beaten path and that was a change in direction to what we all agreed to already. So it is what it is. It’s about managing from the top down and not the down up.
When was the last time you chatted with him?… “Can’t remember the exact date. I haven’t talked to Alex in a while… More than a month.”
Is it unusual for him not to respond?… “I sent him an email. I called his phone. It rang but at least on the number that I had it didn’t have voicemail. I sent him an email that I have for him, which I’m sure I got it. This morning he saw Hal Steinbrenner. Hal is the boss. He had a conversation with Hal. So if that’s good enough for him.”
Did Hal seek him out?… “Alex saw Hal in the weight room and sought him out.”
Did Hal tell you he was disappointed in the reaction?… “I don’t think he used those words but I’m sure he was. I think the fact that he qualified his comment with I’m sure you regret saying the way you said it. I said yes, I do. I think it speaks for itself. There’s a way to communicate and 99 times out of a hundred, I’ll communicate it a certain way. The message needed to be sent and I continue to reinforce it with our people that there’s a way to use social media and there’s a way to not use social media and do not use the social media that’s going to put yourself in a position to have a conversation with me and I don’t want to have that. I’ve conveyed that to our minor leaguers, I’ve conveyed it to our major leaguers. We’ve had a media training program even though I might have failed to live up to all aspects of it yesterday but we do try to do the best we can. I try to do the best I can but the social media stuff can turn back on you at the same time and this was a circumstance where a player is communicating stuff ahead of the club and in our opinion different than where the club is sitting. Therefore we had an issue to deal with and I don’t think it’s something we should be dealing with.”
Is Alex still going to tweet?… “A message has been sent on that. Players can have social media. There is no agreement that he will not be tweeting or that anyone else wouldn’t have their twitter accounts. We don’t control that. That’s something between the union and the commissioner’s office and there’s always people that believe they have rights… But I haven’t talked to Alex. A message was certainly sent, it was received, reinforced by Hal in a more professional way. But that was it. As far as I’m concerned unless I’m having to deal with this again, there’s nothing left to deal with. It’s a story that got blown up and that’s my responsibility and Alex’s. I think we’re both at fault with his communicating what he communicated, the way he communicated and then how I reacted to it. Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything left to deal with unless I have to be put back in this position.”
Is the plan now that he’s going to play for sure?... “We are having those discussions. We’ve had those discussions that continued. They continued with the player. They’ve continued with the training staff. So right now a rough sketch of what he’s going to be doing on a daily basis and if all goes well when he should be playing but I’m not prepared to tell you that.”
What does he have to between now and the time he starts to be given your clearance for rehab?… “He has a set schedule in place. He’s doing everything from a baseball standpoint as you see from the updates. He’s hitting, he’s throwing (and) he’s fielding. He’s doing everything that we put him in a position to. He’s ready to go but you got to pull the stamina up and I thought we’re doing now is building the stamina up… So far every box has been checked off and he is close but he still has a few more things that he has to accomplish and then we’ll be in a position to say here’s the date when you’re going to start and we’re ready to go. It’s just we’re not ready to say that yet. I know he’s excited to get going. So nobody’s holding anybody back, it’s just about controlling the message.”
In your hearts of hearts, do you believe that tweet was a genuine expression of happiness about getting close or was this done in spite for what happened Monday?… “I think he was generally happy. I think he was putting information that he was excited about and not recognizing the job that I have to deal with, our media relations director has to deal with and maybe our manager is going to have to deal with…. Everything you say has a direct impact on something else usually. Do I think he thought that out before he sent it out? No. Do I believe from his perspective harmless, I do. Was it harmless from my end? It wasn’t. That’s why I tried to get him on the phone but before I even got him on the phone, I was dealing with the media calls already and then the runaway train started.”
On the conspiracy theories about slowing him down for insurance reasons or for suspension reasons:… “False and false. We have insurance on Alex period. If he fails then we can work on the insurance and look at that aspect and whatever that is, it is. That’s black and white. Nothing changes there. He’s not being slowed down. We need him yesterday but we can’t have him unless he’s ready period… I have no knowledge about where the Biogenesis stuff is other than what I read in the papers and that’s why throughout this entire process we’ve said no comment. There’s nothing to comment on because you have nothing to comment on. People speculate about contracts and this and that and the other thing. It’s like how can you even focus on a contract when you don’t have facts to lead you to make any assessments of what impact it would have on people’s contracts. Baseball is in charge of this stuff and they’re obviously doing everything in their power to investigate.”

Do you still anticipate that you’ll get Alex back? And do you want him here as a player considering the circus that comes with him?… “Of course I want him here. He’s a guy that you’re going to throw right in the middle of the order to break up your left-handers. You’re going to put him at third base – I don’t know how many different third basemen we’ve used this year – so you’re going to put him out there five, six days a week, probably. And I do anticipate that we’ll get him back. It seems like his strength is getting better and better every day. His mobility is getting better every day, he’s doing more every day, so I do anticipate getting him back.”
When is the last time you spoke to Alex?… “Probably not too long ago.
What was the nature of the conversation?… How he’s doing, how he’s moving, how his girls are – that sort of thing. A little bit about the Heat and the Bulls.”
Do you think there’s a rift between the player and the organization?… “I’m not worried about that. My job is to manage players when they get here, and they’re going to be things that come up during the course of a season. As we talk about, this is a family, and in any family, there are going to be things that come up. You deal with them, you get through them, and you move on.”
Does the loss of Tex make you more anxious to get Alex back?… “I was anxious to get him back from the day that I heard he started moving around and actually doing baseball activities. Obviously, he becomes very important because of: A) The way our lineup is constructed; and B) He can play pretty regularly at third.”
Do you think that Alex can block out the distractions?… “I think he can. What tells me he can is that he’s done it before. I know Alex is anxious to get back to playing and doing what he loves to do where he’s comfortable. I think that he can do that because he’s had to do it before. I think it’s important that he evaluates every day – just like all of us – what we’re doing and how we’re going about our business.”




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