Alex Rodriguez exercises twice a day, according to a source close to him. Sometimes it's yoga. Sometimes Pilates. He runs at a nearby track. Toward the end of summer he'll pick up a baseball bat, see how that feels again. He intends to start classes at the University of Miami in August, part of a plan to one day earn an MBA. He spends time with his two daughters. The three leave soon on a cross-country summer trip.
This is what exile looks like, according to the source. This is what poor choices look like, and making the best of what comes of those. It's disgrace. It's also down dog, running turns, browsing college catalogues and attending a kindergarten graduation ceremony.
Rodriguez will be 39 next month, in the first summer in maybe three decades that has not been and will not be dominated by a baseball schedule. Just him and his conscience and his comeback strategy.
On Friday, Rodriguez backed away from the last of his myriad legal pursuits related to Major League Baseball, its commissioner, the players' union, the New York Yankees, their doctors and, of course, the Biogenesis investigation. The medical malpractice suit against Yankees doctor Christopher Ahmad and New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center claimed Rodriguez was mistreated in 2012 for an injured hip – that's dropped, like the rest.
Rodriguez does not plan on spending another summer like this for a while, delightful as parts of it have been. He intends to play for the Yankees in 2015, for which the club would owe him $21 million. (Another two seasons and $40 million would remain.) This was always Rodriguez's aim, and always his right. That is, to play. Or, if it comes to it, to be proven incapable. Some tidiness – legally and otherwise – was likely required.
While maintaining a conscientious silence in his season away, Rodriguez's route to professional recovery would seem to have required a reasonable relationship with the Yankees and MLB. Pending lawsuits tend to undermine that.
So, from the gym to the track to, soon, the batting cage, Rodriguez is working his way toward spring training. By then, he will not have taken a competitive at-bat for 17 months. He will stand on two surgically-repaired hips. He will be nearing 40. And the Yankees could push the notion of a buyout, as unlikely as it is Rodriguez would accept one, to rid themselves of a fading and tainted player.
Rodriguez, according to the source, stepped away from the lawsuit in order to move on with his life, to remove himself from decisions recommended by previous representation and to start the process of resuming his career. There'd been enough ugliness, enough billable hours, enough table pounding. This was a gesture of peace. Maybe of surrender.
It's a long way back. But by February, Rodriguez will have done his time, all 162 games' worth (or more). Like Ryan Braun and so many others, he will return to the game and his team and his contract. He's due that. He is likely to admit to mistakes, big ones, because that's also the way back and because a baseball season is a long time to reflect on one's choices. If the Yankees will have him, and there's no sense yet they'd spend $61 million not to, Rodriguez will have his next chance. It sounds like that's good enough for him.
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