Cashman: Yanks to meet with A-Rod before Spring Training
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees will meet before Spring Training to address any lingering issues following his season-long suspension, general manager Brian Cashman confirmed on Friday.
Speaking on WFAN, Cashman said that Rodriguez and his attorney, Jim Sharp, asked for the meeting this week. Cashman said that the request will be granted, though the date and place have not yet been decided. It is unknown if managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner or team president Randy Levine will attend.
"Clearly, we'll have some ground to cover," Cashman said. "We're looking forward to getting the best team on the field we possibly can, so we'll see."
As he prepares to put his uniform back on, Rodriguez also recently met with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. Cashman said that the Yankees have maintained contact with Rodriguez; he has spoken with manager Joe Girardi and was evaluated in person by Matt Krause, the team's strength and conditioning coach, as well as Brett Weber, a baseball operations assistant.
"Alex considers everything with the Yankees to be family business, and family business stays within the family," Ron Berkowitz, a spokesperson for Rodriguez, told multiple media outlets on Friday.
Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 20, with position players due in camp on Feb. 25. It is possible that Rodriguez will hold a news conference at the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex to address the questions revolving around his return, but those details have not been finalized.
"Obviously, there's things that need to come from him, if anything," Cashman said. "He's been reintroduced back in; he's an active member of our club. From a baseball standpoint, we want the most we can get out of him. What that is going to be remains to be seen.
"I'm not here to give him advice on what he should or shouldn't be doing or when he should be doing it. ... The bottom line is as GM, our manager, our ownership wants us to get everybody on the same page from a playing standpoint and try to get a good team that can compete on a daily basis for victory. That's what our focus is going to be."
The Yankees plan to give Rodriguez the majority of his at-bats at designated hitter, and they plan to evaluate him at third base, where he could serve as a backup for Chase Headley, who signed a four-year, $52 million deal this offseason. Cashman said that the best-case scenario is that Rodriguez is still a middle-of-the-order bat who can also contribute defensively.
"I think [Rodriguez] will play hard and he will put his nose to the grindstone, because he's always done that," Cashman said. "That's not asking much coming from him. ... We all know he loves the game of baseball, so that's never been an issue either.
"After that, I can't predict how meetings are going to take place and fences are going to get mended. All that stuff will take place over time. Certainly, it'll take place in the microscope situation, because this is New York. We're all going to do the best we possibly can and then we hope for the best."