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A-Rod never met with second-opinion doctor

The SportsXchange

The doctor who said Wednesday that Alex Rodriguez does not have a quadriceps strain never has met the New York Yankees third baseman in person.

Dr. Michael Gross, chief of The Sports Medicine Institute at Hackensack University, also was reprimanded by the state of New Jersey in February for not properly supervising an unlicensed employee, ESPN reported.

The New Jersey attorney general also said Gross failed to "adequately ensure proper patient treatment involving the prescribing of hormones, including steroids" at the Acting Center for Health & Wellness.

"These were not anabolic steroids," Gross told ESPN New York on Wednesday night. "They weren't that stuff. We weren't treating athletes. Steroids are not illegal. They are banned in professional sports, but we weren't treating those people. We were treating people with a medical problem -- low testosterone or menopause."

Earlier in the day, Gross contradicted Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad, who diagnosed Rodriguez with a Grade 1 quad strain. Gross reviewed Rodriguez's MRI.

"To be perfectly honest," Gross said, "I don't see any sort of injury there."

The Yankees responded by accusing Rodriguez of violating the collective bargaining agreement by getting a second opinion -- Gross' opinion -- without first notifying the team.

It is unclear what recourse the Yankees have -- if any.

Gross said he talked with Rodriguez and told the embattled Yankee that he could not clear him to play unless a full examination was completed.

"I spoke with Alex on the phone, and I asked him if he has any pain and he said, 'I don't,'" Gross said. "I said, 'Do you have an injury?' And he said, 'I don't.' He said, 'Would you be willing to say I'm ready to play?' I said, 'No, I'm not willing to say that. I've never examined you. I've looked at your MRI.' But I asked him if you think you are ready to play and he said, 'Yes.'"

Gross said he did not get paid for his opinion.

Rodriguez is one of a number of players who have been linked to Biogenesis, a defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly sold banned substances. The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun was suspended earlier this week for the remainder of the season for unspecified violations of baseball's drug rules related to the Biogenesis probe.

According to USA Today, Rodriguez likely would receive a 100-game suspension if Major League Baseball decides to take action. Some are suggesting Rodriguez will be banned for life.

Millions of dollars are at stake for both the Yankees and Rodriguez.

USA Today reported that Rodriguez believes the Yankees are saying he is injured in order to collect insurance money and not pay him. If Rodriguez is suspended for at least 100 games, he stands to lose about $14 million this season and about $7 million next year. He has about $98 million remaining on his 10-year, $275 million contract.

Rodriguez left Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with a strained left quadriceps last weekend during what was supposed to be the final leg of a minor league rehab assignment before a return to the major leagues on Monday. The team said an MRI in New York showed a Grade 1 strain that would sideline him for a week to 10 days.

The 37-year-old Rodriguez did not speak with reporters when he exited an SUV after arriving at the complex in Tampa on Wednesday morning. It is not known how the Yankees will move forward with Rodriguez. The team previously said the quad injury would require rest and treatment.

In 13 minor league rehab games, Rodriguez hit .250 (8-for-40) with two home runs and eight RBIs.
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