After more than a week of drama over when he will return to the baseball diamond — and a doping investigation that has dragged on for at least six months — the Yankees have finally cleared Alex Rodriguez to begin his rehab assignment.
The star-crossed superstar is scheduled to join the Bombers’ Single-A team in Charleston on Tuesday, the Yankees announced in a press statement on Monday. Rodriguez is expected to start the 7:05 p.m. game against Rome at third base and play at least three innings.
That’s welcome news for Rodriguez, who has been linked to Biogenesis, the South Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of baseball’s latest doping scandal. More than 20 players, including Rodriguez and Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun, could face lengthy suspensions if Major League Baseball investigators determine they have enough evidence to warrant discipline.
The Yankees give Alex Rodriguez the green light to begin his minor-league rehab assignment.
“It’s awesome. … I’m very excited,” Rodriguez said from Tampa, where he has been rehabbing his surgically repaired left hip. “The (conference call) all was very positive. We’re all looking in the same direction, to get back to New York as soon as possible. Tomorrow is the first good step.”
Rodriguez reiterated that he is “very excited. It will be the first game I play in maybe over eight months. It’s been a long time. It will be great to suit up again. It gets me one step closer to being able to help my team in New York.”
The Daily News first reported on June 23 that Rodriguez, who has missed the first half of the season as he recovers from his January surgery, had been cleared for action as soon as Monday. The News also reported last week that sources believe Rodriguez has fast-forwarded his return so that if he discovers he cannot physically peroform, he would be able to announce his retirement in order to collet the full amount of his salary — $ 114 million over five years — even if he is suspended by commissioner Bud Selig.
Robert Sabo/New York Daily News
A-Rod is thrilled about being ‘one step closer to being able to help my team in New York.’
A spokesman for Rodriguez has sharply denied that scenario. The spokesman has said that Rodriguez is working hard to return to the Yankees.
Rodriguez angered Yankee general manager Brian Cashman last Tuesday when he used Twitter to announce that his surgeon had cleared him to return to minor league rehab play by July 1, confirming what The News had reported.
“You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, (we will),” Cashman told ESPN. “Alex should just shut the f– up.”
Rodriguez later spoke to Cashman and Yankee president Randy Levine by phone to clear the air. Levine disputed a report that claimed A-Rod had acted strangely during the conversation.