Alex Rodriguez is staring down a potential lifetime ban for his connection to the Biogenesis scandal, but the New York Yankees slugger has decided now is the best time to air his dirty laundry with the team.
On Wednesday he released a statement questioning whether the Yankees really want him to return to the field this year and insisting he is fit to play. The team had kept Rodriguez on the disabled list after he finished a rehab stint, but A-Rod had a doctor dispute the team’s interpretation of an MRI scan.
Dr. Michael Gross, an orthopedic surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center, told ESPN New York that the MRI showed Alex Rodriguez is fit to return to the field, though Gross did not meet with A-Rod personally and claimed he would not sign off on authorizing him to play.
“I spoke with Alex on the phone, and I asked him if he has any pain and he said, ‘I don’t,’ ” Gross said Wednesday. “I said, ‘Do you have an injury?’ And he said, ‘I don’t.’ He said, ‘Would you be willing to say I’m ready to play?’ I said, ‘No, I’m not willing to say that. I’ve never examined you. I’ve looked at your MRI.’ But I asked him if you think you are ready to play and he said, ‘Yes.’ “
The Yankees seized on this tidbit, releasing their own statement from general manager Brian Cashman that read: “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.”
As the drama with the Yankees intensifies, Alex Rodriguez has another scandal looming. Sources say the league is considering a lifetime ban for his connection to Biogenesis, a South Florida clinic accused of supplying players with performance-enhancing drugs. The league has already suspended Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season.
But the shoe has yet to drop for the Yankees slugger, and a source said that Alex Rodriguez wants to be in the lineup on Friday for the start of a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays.