New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday that third baseman Alex Rodriguez isn't guaranteed a starting job when he returns to the team next season. Cashman said Rodriguez will have to compete to start.
Rodriguez is eligible to play again in 2015 after serving his 162-game suspension for his ties to the Biogenesis clinic and performance-enhancing drugs.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had said in September that he expected Rodriguez to be the team's starting third baseman next season, but Cashman said otherwise Tuesday.
Pointing to the fact the team isn't sure what to expect from Rodriguez production-wise, Cashman said Rodriguez will have to "compete" for a job and that the organization could acquire a starting third baseman in free agency or through a trade.
"[Rodriguez]’s going to compete for at-bats and for a position," Cashman said, according to ESPN.com. "The position would be third, and obviously DH and that’s it. Maybe some time at first base. He may be eventually the everyday third baseman, he may be the everyday DH; I just don’t know."
"In fairness to us and in fairness to Alex, I don't know what to expect because it’s been a year," Cashman said. "I just don’t know. You hope that he can contribute in a significant way, but we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out."
Rodriguez originally received a 211-game suspension in August 2013 that was effectively reduced to 162 games, or the entire 2014 season, the following January after an appeal.
While the former three-time MVP has maintained publicly that he did not use PEDs from Biogenesis, it was reported last week that Rodriguez admitted to PED use in a meeting with the DEA in January before his suspension was reduced. Rodriguez's testimony was used in the federal case against Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, who pleaded guilty last month to providing PEDs to dozens of high school athletes and MLB players, among others.
In his last MLB action, Rodriguez hit .244 with a .771 OPS and seven home runs in 44 games with the Yankees in 2013. He has three years and a minimum of $61 million remaining on his contract.
- Ben Estes