Alex Rodriguez makes yet another misplay in PR battle with Yankees

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Presumably there's a place and time in which this must make perfect sense, only not here or now.

On a day he was to spend resting and recovering from the sore left quadriceps he himself reported four days ago, and that supposedly showed as a Grade 1 strain on an MRI three days ago, Alex Rodriguez was frantically contesting the fact he had a sore left quadriceps and the MRI that confirmed it.

Apparently, he'd sent copies of the MRI – or had them sent – to a New Jersey doctor, then conversed by telephone with the doctor, and then the doctor went on New York radio to say, among other things, "To be perfectly honest, I don't see any sort of injury there."

Now, how WFAN knew that Rodriguez had consulted with a doctor unaffiliated with the New York Yankees, and that doctor had a name and a phone number, and that doctor would comment publicly on one of his patients, is left to speculation. That the physician – Dr. Michael Gross – would speculate that the Yankees' prognosis might be inaccurate, or allow his appearance to suggest as much, implied an attempted power play by Rodriguez. If there's a reasonable end game to this, it is possible Rodriguez is the only one who sees it.

You don't see a lot of prattling by doctors about their patients. Then, you don't see a lot of second opinions on mild muscle strains. If, by the end of the day, the good doctor had missed a single New York media outlet, it was an oversight on his part.

"Nobody paid me," Gross told the Bergen County Record, for one. "I did it as a favor. … I thought it would be fun. It's my five minutes of fame."

Given the gravity of the moment, his career possibly at stake, Rodriguez discovered the ballpark streaker of doctors.

There's more. According to state documents, Gross in February was reprimanded and fined by the New Jersey attorney general for "failing to adequately ensure proper patient treatment involving the prescribing of hormones including steroids" at a Hackensack health and wellness center he founded. Gross stated Rodriguez had never been a patient at the facility.

This is the doctor with whom Rodriguez consulted in what seems an attempt to discredit the Yankees.

Of course, this is the same Alex Rodriguez who, post-hip surgery, announced he'd been cleared to play in rehab games by a surgeon who doesn't work for the Yankees, tweeted about it, and was smacked down by the team's general manager. So last month.

As a backdrop, the Biogenesis investigation appears to have cleared its desk in preparation for the intrepid A-Rod. The 65-game suspension of Ryan Braun is considered by many to be MLB's throat-clearing as it relates to Rodriguez, who could face much sterner sanctions, perhaps within the next 10 days. Depending on one's source, Rodriguez will defend himself to the hilt against allegations he acquired illegal drugs from Tony Bosch (or ingested them), or he is hoping to plea bargain into a deal that will salvage a few good days at the end of his career. A spirited defense is the far more likely scenario. Rodriguez will be 38 on Saturday. Both hips have required surgery. After this season, four years and $86 million remain on his contract, and that is what he seeks to protect.

Rodriguez's strategy so far appears to consist of hiding behind lawyers, PR firms and a doctor from Hackensack, mystifying his fans, and annoying the crap out of Brian Cashman. Maybe his plan is to go out fighting, if indeed he is going out. Maybe he's back to listening to too many people. Maybe it's all as random, rash and goofy as it looks.

Regardless, the Yankees felt compelled to respond to the day's events. In a statement, Cashman revealed he'd received a text message from Rodriguez on Wednesday afternoon stating he – Rodriguez – had sought a second opinion on his quadriceps.

"Contrary to the Basic Agreement," Cashman said, "Mr. Rodriguez did not notify us at any time that he was seeking a second opinion from any doctor with regard to his quad strain."

According to Cashman, Rodriguez first complained of stiffness in his left quadriceps on July 12, nine days before the MRI. The discomfort caused the Yankees to delay a plan to move Rodriguez from Class-A Tampa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and therefore slowed Rodriguez's rehabilitation.

"As you know," Cashman said, "it is the Yankees' desire to have Alex return to the lineup as soon as possible. And we have done everything to try and accomplish this."

Rodriguez seems sure the Yankees, like MLB, are plotting against him. And while there is little doubt the Yankees would like to get out from under the last $100 million or so of his contract, they did not come to him with the sore quad. He went to them. The Yankees' plan was to have Rodriguez in Monday's lineup in Texas.

It doesn't mean they're not plotting against him. But, then, Rodriguez is doing a wonderful job of that on his own.

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