Alex Rodriguez isn't sure when he might be back on the field for the New York Yankees, telling team officials on Wednesday that there's a chance he misses the entire season.
A source close to the Yankees told ESPNNewYork.com that A-Rod updated Yankees officials during a conference call Wednesday. The source said he told general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine that his return could be in July or August, or perhaps not at all this year.
If true, the account seems to go against a tweet Alex Rodriguez sent Tuesday night that said Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed his hip surgery in January, had cleared him to play. The tweet angered Cashman, who told ESPNNewYork.com that "Alex should just shut the f--- up."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said even he doesn't know the status of A-Rod's return, but seemed hesitant to get in the middle of the conflict.
"I've heard a couple conflicting reports, I guess, from sources," Girardi said ."That's why I always say when a player gets here, he gets here. And when he's ready, he's ready. But from everything that I understand, he's been making progress, moving better day after day, so it sounds like things are pretty good."
Sources have told ESPN that A-Rod thought the Yankees were delaying his return so the team could collect insurance on his $28 million salary. Rodriguez reportedly called team executives several months ago to confront them, asking if they were trying to force him off the team.
Team officials have denied the charge.
"Make no mistake, if Alex Rodriguez is healthy, we want him and I want him playing third base for us yesterday," Cashman said. "He's doing everything, I know, in his power to get here to do that. We're clearly a better team with him. We're not holding him back. We're not trying to hold him back. We're obviously taking every step in the process."
The process is even more cloudy given the uncertainty surrounding a performance-enhancing drug investigation. A-Rod is reportedly linked to a South Florida clinic accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to several players. League sources say he could face a lengthy suspension.