After benching him through last year’s playoffs, the Yankees told Rodriguez to focus more on baseball in the offseason than celebrity. But A-Rod couldn’t resist. Barely a week later, he was spied escorting former WWE wrestler and girlfriend-of-the-moment Torrie Wilson around Beverly Hills, checking out pricey real estate. Next he opened a Twitter account and added another publicist or two to his already considerable stable. Predictably, trouble soon followed.
Rodriguez’ early posts were about things most people already knew, with the occasional exclamation point to make it feel more like real news: “First time facing live pitching today ... Simulated game yesterday — nice to see real game pitching action!”
So, presumably, when a team doctor cleared A-Rod to begin playing real games, he simply treated it as more of the same: “Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news — the green light to play games again!”
Cashman could have reacted by picking up the phone and directing Rodriguez to the appropriate pages in the handbook regarding how injuries are reported. As manager Joe Girardi reminded him after Tuesday night’s game, “It goes through our training staff, our doctors, our GM and then it probably gets to me.”
A day later, Rodriguez picked up the phone and spoke with Cashman and team president Randy Levine for 30 minutes.
“Everybody is on the same page and we’re all going to communicate and work together to get Alex back as quickly as possible,” Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said. “They’re all back on track.”
Except they weren’t.
Instead of letting the whole thing end there, someone inside A-Rod’s camp told ESPN.com that Rodriguez doesn’t feel the club really wants him back. That’s likely true. But unlike Rodriguez, and unlike all the past attempts to publicly shame their overpriced asset, the Yankees said little. Cashman’s terse “just shut ... up” was revealing for just how annoyed he’s become, but more than that, it was advice that A-Rod do the same.