Rodriguez excitedly tweeted that he was cleared by his doctor to start playing games again after spending all of 2013 rehabbing the injured hip he had surgery on after the Yankees' loss in the playoffs last season.
In response to Rodriguez's news, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York contacted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to get a response.
You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, [we will]. Alex should just shut the f--- up. That's it. I'm going to call Alex now.
Rodriguez then released a statement on Wednesday in response to what Cashman said (h/t Hardball Talk):
I will continue to work hard until my efforts get me back in pinstripes and help my team win. The tweet was pure excitement about Dr. Kelly’s prognosis.
While there are a lot of reasons one might be able to come up with off the top of their head to dislike Rodriguez, it seems like we have skipped about seven or eight steps for him to elicit this kind of response from his boss.
All Rodriguez did was say that his doctor told him he was ready to get back to work. Perhaps Cashman didn't like the fact that A-Rod said that before having the team's doctors give him the okay to go.
As Marchand notes in his report, Dr. Kelly was approved by the team to perform Rodriguez's surgery and recovery in New York, but once he went to Tampa, Yankees doctors had authority over his rehab.
But none of what Rodriguez said was worth Cashman telling an employee to keep their mouth shut in such an explicit manner.
That is the bigger issue. If Cashman had just said that Rodriguez hadn't been cleared and was going to call him up to discuss it, that would be one thing. But it is the anger and vitriol he used that makes this whole thing reflect poorly on him.
Of course, even as you scour the web today, all of the stories are going to be about how Rodriguez is incredibly stupid and deserves to be called out.
Yet even on a day when A-Rod got the best medical news he’s had all year, he managed to foul things up. Was there ever any doubt when Rodriguez joined Twitter on May 31 that something like this was bound to happen?
Some people are never going to win. Rodriguez has to be punished by everyone—fans, the media, blogs, etc.—because he can be an easy target. When you are getting fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz at the Super Bowl, you are just asking to be the butt of jokes.
Yet there seems to be resentment and anger toward Rodriguez because of the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees after the 2007 season and is currently an albatross given his physical health and performance decline over the last three years.
Why is the anger directed at the player and not the team? They were bidding against themselves and could have told him, as a 32-year-old player not likely to maintain his performance for too much longer, to test the market, or at the very least not made him an offer that big.
Whether Cashman wanted the Yankees to make that deal, or if it was something mandated by ownership, the fact of the matter is that the general manager has a hand in it.
If the money or performance-enhancing drug issues, which the Yankees didn't seem to care about when Rodriguez was helping them win a championship during the 2009 postseason, or just the idea of him being part of this team is the problem, that doesn't warrant any general manager making this kind of statement about a player who is just saying that he has been cleared by a doctor to play.
Oh, by the way, Rodriguez wasn't even the first person to break news that a doctor cleared him. Michael O'Keeffe and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News reported on June 23 that he was medically cleared to play in games on July 1. They also noted that it was up to the Yankees to decide if he was ready.
So why is Cashman so angry? And even worse, what kind of message does this send to other players out there? Can they expect the same treatment if they post news about their recovery from injury?
If anything, Cashman should be celebrating that Rodriguez is on the mend. Ignore the salary, because that is not Rodriguez's fault, who is the best third baseman for this team right now?
David Adams is hitting .185/.227/.283 in 27 games. Kevin Youkilis, who was hitting just .219/.305/.343 in 28 games, is basically done for the season after undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disc.
The Yankees need Rodriguez more than they would care to admit. He was better than league average last year, hitting .272/.353/.430 with 18 home runs and 13 stolen bases. This team would kill for that kind of production at the hot corner right now.
But no, Cashman can't even prevent himself from taking a shot at Rodriguez. He has to lash out, which in turn will give fans and the media reasons to speculate about what A-Rod did wrong in this instance.
No one wants to look at the situation as it is and admit that Cashman was in the wrong, crossed the line and should be reprimanded in some way for it, whether through a fine or something else.
For more discussion about angry general managers, why A-Rod isn't the world's greatest monster or anything else baseball related, feel free to hit me on Twitter with questions or comments.
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