As Brian Cashman met with media in the Yankees dugout this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez walked out of the clubhouse and onto the field for some early work. He did not speak to Cashman, and Cashman did not speak to him.
“I’m not comfortable talking to Alex on this stuff because I feel we’re in a litigious environment,” Cashman said. “So I am not comfortable anymore talking to him. I think it’s pretty self-evident. Like yesterday’s stuff, is that helpful to anything, to the process? I don’t think it’s helpful. Me talking to him about it, it’s not going to (help). I don’t feel comfortable talking to him.
“… Hello, goodbye, and that’s it. Because anything else, I don’t want to be distorted, to be quite honest.”
As you saw in the video posted earlier, Cashman strongly disagrees with Rodriguez’s version of events from last year’s postseason. Cashman said there was never any indication of the left hip problem until the offseason, and Joe Girardi said the front office never told him to keep Rodriguez in the lineup. As you’ll no doubt recall, Rodriguez was bench quite a bit last postseason, and he was pulled for pinch hitters in key at-bats against righties.
But beyond that, the latest Rodriguez comments — via his lawyer — make clear that the disagreement between player and organization goes well beyond the usual fight over playing time or contracts or money.
“Clearly this is an issue that none of us ever signed up for,” Cashman said. “I know that our medical staff — as they’ve done with all of our players in our clubhouse — have done everything that they possibly can to try to assist Alex and help Alex and diagnose Alex and have given the best proper medical care.”
Cashman said that just days before Dr. Michael Gross went on the radio to say he disagreed with the Yankees diagnosis of a strain quadriceps last month, Rodriguez had called Cashman personally to say he had no problem with the team’s diagnosis, and that reports of him wanting a second opinion were false. Then, out of the blue, Dr. Gross was involved and saying the opposite.
“It’s like, how do you handle that?” Cashman said. “I felt like Selena Roberts a little bit there, or Katie Couric, or anybody else I can come up with because I know that, at that moment in time, I was lied to.”
Cashman said he believes the Yankees have done a good job staying focused on the task at hand, but he acknowledged that this has become a distraction for him. It’s a constant, and it seems no one knows what’s coming next. It’s literally gotten to the point that the two sides aren’t able to speak to one another.
“Our team wants to do everything they can possibly do to close the gap and secure a playoff berth,” Cashman said. “Alex is part of that process, and he can help us. And he has helped us since he’s returned despite everything else that’s going on.”
Is it unusual to root for a player when he’s in the box, while clearly fighting with him when he’s off the field?
“These are unique times,” Cashman said.
That seems to be the nice way to put it.
• How much of a distraction has this become? “As an example of a distraction, I don’t have anything for you on Derek Jeter,” Cashman said. Think about that for a moment. Cashman literally had no idea what Jeter’s been doing in Tampa or when he might be back because he’s been wrapped up in Rodriguez stuff. That’s amazing.
• Of course, it helps that Girardi seems to have been able to distance himself. He actually did have a Jeter update, and it includes the fact Jeter will not be back on Tuesday. He’s going to play a sort of simulated game tomorrow — live batting practice and ground balls, but no running the bases — and will have to play a few more, possibly even a rehab assignment, before returning. “He won’t be ready by Tuesday, but he is getting closer and he’s making progress,” Girardi said.
• Is Friday, when the Yankees go to Tampa, a more realistic date for Jeter? “I guess that anything is possible,” Girardi said. “But until he’s able to run freely, I don’t think you can really put a date on it, and he hasn’t done that yet.”
• Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes will start Tuesday’s doubleheader. Either Andy Pettitte or Adam Warren will start Wednesday. If Warren doesn’t start Wednesday, he’ll likely start at some point to let the rotation get back on track. “There’s a good chance you’re going to see Warren as the other starter, I’m just not sure which day,” Girardi said.
• Warren isn’t pitching in the doubleheader because of his pitch count from last night.
• Another DH day for Curtis Granderson, but Girardi said there’s no injury, just a really hot player who wants to stay on his routine. “Sori’s been on such a roll, I don’t really want to to change anything that he’s doing,” Girardi said. “He’s been swinging the bat, so I don’t want to screw anything up.”
• Girardi said he feels able to speak freely with Rodriguez: “Because it’s about baseball,” Girardi said. “About playing and how is he doing physically, and what he thinks he needs. We’ve talked about a day off here (at some point). But for me, it’s different because it’s just baseball, and its normal for us to talk about that.”
Associated Press photos