Yankees uncertain when third baseman can return to big leagues
BOSTON -- The Yankees have played through nearly four months of their season without seeing Alex Rodriguez between the white lines at the big league level. They'll continue to do so for at least another week.
Rodriguez was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left quadriceps after he underwent an MRI and examination at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday and will not join the team for its upcoming series against the Rangers in Arlington.
Instead, Rodriguez is scheduled to return to the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., for rest and treatment. The Yankees made the announcement a few hours after stating that Rodriguez was traveling to New York to be seen by team physician Christopher Ahmad.
"I am extremely disappointed with the results of the MRI and hoping to be back as soon as possible and continue with my goal of coming back and helping the Yankees win a championship," Rodriguez said in a statement released through his public relations firm.
Rodriguez had planned to end his 20-day Minor League rehab stint after a final game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, but because he is unable to rejoin the Yankees, he will not be reinstated to the Major League roster and instead remains on their disabled list.
With his rehab window closed, Rodriguez is also ineligible to play in official Minor League games. The Yankees, however, could petition Major League Baseball for an additional rehab assignment for Rodriguez due to the new injury.
"He's going to be out for a while, so we'll just deal with it and continue to play," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the team's 8-7 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday, adding that he had not discussed a set timetable with general manager Brian Cashman.
Girardi said that he had started to construct lineups in his head that included Rodriguez's name for the upcoming games against the Rangers, but obviously, he will have to come up with a different plan by the time the Yankees take the field in Arlington.
"As I've said, until they walk through that door and they're able to play, I don't count on them," Girardi said. "It's kind of like the trade rumors that swirl, too. Until something actually happens, you go with the guys that are in the room, and that's what you focus on."
Speaking to reporters as he left PNC Field in Moosic, Pa., Rodriguez said that he had spoken to Cashman and Girardi, and he was optimistic that the MRI would come back clean and he'd be playing this week for the Yankees.
"Listen, I think we're all being very smart here," Rodriguez said, according to the New York Post. "With the year we've had, it's better to be on the cautious side, the conservative side."
Rodriguez will turn 38 on Saturday and has not played in the Major Leagues this season as he recovers from left hip surgery performed in January. He felt tightness in his quadriceps in his final at-bat on Friday while trying to stretch a single into a double.
Rodriguez was slated to play third base on Saturday, start at designated hitter on Sunday, then fly to Texas on Monday. Instead, the quad injury limited him to DH duty on Saturday night, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and it kept him off the field completely on Sunday.
Rodriguez's situation seems similar to that of Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who returned for a July 11 game against the Royals at Yankee Stadium but sustained a Grade 1 strain of his right quadriceps.
Jeter is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but quadriceps injuries can be tricky to predict, especially for older players; Girardi said that he is unsure if Jeter will be able to play in that game against the Rays.
"You never know how quick a guy is going to heal," Girardi said.
A-Rod's recovery and rehab assignment had gone without an injury setback until this development. In three games at Triple-A, Rodriguez went 3-for-12 (.250) with one homer and two RBIs, striking out five times.
He played a total of 13 Minor League games for four Yankees farm clubs, batting a combined .200 (8-for-40) with one double, two home runs, eight RBIs, one walk and 12 strikeouts. The three-time American League MVP is earning $28 million this year and is owed $86 million more through 2017.
Rodriguez is just one of 16 players to spend time on the disabled list for the Yankees this season. With that in mind, Girardi did not seem to be caught off guard by reports of a new injury to one of his players.
"We've had to deal with it all year, so it's not like it's not par for the course," Girardi said.