Yankees had serious discussions with A-Rod about off-field antics
Top Yankees officials are apparently giving
While Yankees people generally seem to remain concerned about Rodriguez's inability to stay out of the gossip pages, they appear to not be overreacting to the latest A-Rod news -- which includes a narcissistic magazine photo spread and a Manhattan madam's claims to a tabloid that she received personal emails from Rodriguez and subsequently dated him -- since both developments appear to have occurred before the team's most serious talks with Rodriguez, even if they didn't become public until later. Thus the new revelations haven't spurred any new lectures from his Yankee bosses.
Club officials have even referred to the alleged episode involving the madam as being "part of his past'' and reflective of a difficult personal situation at the time. Rodriguez and his wife of five years, Cynthia, who have two young daughters, divorced last year.
The most serious of the heart-to-heart talks occurred right after
The Yankees' message was, "Put all the distractions behind you.'' And Rodriguez agreed, according to people familiar with those discussions.
"Clearly, you don't want any controversies on or of the field," Yankees general manager
The team executives' talks with Rodriguez have tapered off while he's been rehabbing his surgically repaired right hip 2,000 miles away from the team in Vail, Colo. And the concern has lessened somewhat, as A-Rod is now spending 18 hours a day rehabbing under the guidance of noted hip surgeon
While Yankees brass frequently praise Rodriguez for his willingness to agree to the two-part hip surgery (an obvious attempt on his part to salvage this season) and dedication in speeding up the timetable for his return, people who talk to Yankees executives say they have been frustrated at times by Rodriguez's seeming inability to avoid bad publicity. According to people familiar with the situation, some describe it as a "constant maintenance'' on the part of Yankees officials, who are frequently advising Rodriguez.
Top-ranking club executives -- including the Steinbrenners, club president
A-Rod's doctors originally projected that by undergoing the first of two surgeries earlier this month, he could return to play at "85 to 90 percent'' sometime in May, then have the second surgery after the Yankees' season is over. Reflective of the team's expectation to play through October, Yankees people have been calling it a November surgery, although it can be moved up to October if the Yankees don't play deep into that hallowed month.
Club officials actually have been heartened by their belief -- whether true or not -- that Rodriguez has seemingly begun to scale back his association with celebrity agent