Alex Rodriguez found himself in a social media spat with the Yankees. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Yankees and Alex Rodriguez this week exchanged contrasting opinions on the progress of his rehabilitation from hip surgery. The lengths Rodriguez used to tell the world -- via Twitter -- that he's closer to a return can only be described as "bizarre" according to Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record.
Rodriguez went public with a Tuesday night tweet to announce he was cleared to take a big step in his rehabilitation: “Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news — the green light to play games again!”
That announcement not only conflicted with the Yankees' latest reports on Rodriguez, but followed a day of behavior the team believes to be either strange or calculated.
From the Record:
Let’s face it, in terms of entertainment value, all the Yankees have is the Alex Rodriguez-front office war – a real doozy, at that. Club officials have nothing but contempt for A-Rod, a sentiment that goes both ways. But they’re also stumped by the slugger’s recent behavior and public comments, which one insider characterized as “bizarre.”
Despite Rodriguez’s optimistic updates on Twitter on Tuesday, indicating he was ready to begin playing rehab games, he told GM Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine the exact opposite. According to a source, Rodriguez said during a 30-minute conference call, “I don’t know when I’m coming back. It could be in July, it could be in August. It might not be this year.”
That directly contradicts the timetable A-Rod laid out on Twitter, when he announced he’d been cleared by Dr. Bryan Kelly to accelerate his regimen. News of the setback was first reported by the New York Post on Thursday. But as if to dramatize the now-seemingly false announcement, Rodriguez included an Instagram photo of himself chatting with Kelly at the club’s Tampa training facility.
But, again, there’s more to this than Rodriguez was letting on. Kelly, a New York-based surgeon, did not examine A-Rod this week, nor had he been dispatched by the Yankees to do so. The doctor was at the facility only to check in on other players and happened to run into Rodriguez by chance. Furthermore, while Kelly successfully repaired the tear in Rodriguez’s right hip labrum, he’s not the one overseeing A-Rod’s rehab.
“He’s not ready for that, that’s all there is to it,” said one official. So the more pressing question is why Rodriguez would bother spreading good news, knowing it was nothing more than wish-casting – if not a boldfaced lie?
Klapisch reports Cashman and the Yankees spent several hours Tuesday trying to locate Rodriguez via phone call, text and email. The lack of a response irritated Cashman who suspected Rodriguez was sending a message by not returning his calls.
JAFFE: Retirement rumors aside, A-Rod won't go away easily and the Yankees need him back
Amidst reports speculating Rodriguez is accelerating his return in order to retire and avoid Biogenesis discipline, and the Yankees hoping he retires to avoid paying the $100 million remaining on his contract, A-Rod has taken to updating his progress independently of the team.
From the Record:
Whether this is all a ploy by Rodriguez to position himself for retirement is anyone’s guess; there’s no shortage of theories as to whether A-Rod will be healthy enough to play again in 2013. But the Yankees are bristling at the idea that they’re deliberating holding Rodriguez back, delaying the return date in order to expedite an insurance claim.
Rodriguez’s camp is pushing that theory; that the slugger is the victim here. But as much as the Yankees detest Rodriguez for embarrassing them in the current PED scandal, they’re nevertheless desperate for offense.