MIAMI -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman ordered superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez be rested here Friday and Saturday after a conference call of Yankee bosses, including team owner Hal Steinbrenner, medical personnel and Rodriguez himself, people familiar with the situation tell

Rodriguez conceded on the high-powered conference call that he was "bone tired." The call was precipitated by Steinbrenner, Cashman and other Yankees higherups after noticing A-Rod's terrible recent struggles and a tired look, especially in the games against the Nationals this week. They were concerned that he wasn't himself after playing constantly following his return from March hip surgery.

A-Rod was told, "You're hurting the team," by one or more of the Yankee decison-makers before he admitted he wasn't himself and agreed to the two-day break. It was also decided on the call that Rodriguez would need an occasional day off, which his doctors, Marc Philippon and David Lindsay recommended.

Some controversy was sparked when the Miami Herald in a lengthy story about Rodriguez's unexpected two-day rest included a "rumor" that A-Rod and manager Joe Girardi "spoke sharply to each other" in a meeting before Friday's game here. However, people familiar with the Yankees' decision to sit Rodriguez say the decision came from Cashman and higherups, not Girardi. The conference call did take place with Rodriguez when he was at the stadium, but Girardi wasn't believed to be on the call.

Yankees bosses believe Rodriguez was trying to play through the fatigue and would have happily continued to do play had they not called a halt Friday. Rodriguez is hitting .145 for the month with two home runs. The Miami Herald story noted that tens of Rodriguez friends and family were looking forward to the upcoming games for the hometown star here in Miami.

"When you're running on empty, you're not being yourself out there," Rodriguez was quoted as saying before the game. "I'll call my mom and tell her to save the gas money."

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