Is A-Rod Protecting His Hip or Avoiding PED Media Firestorm?

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIJuly 10, 2013

CHARLESTON, SC - JULY 02:  Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankess stretches before his at bat during his game for the Charleston RiverDogs at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park on July 2, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez just can't seem to stay out of the news.

According to ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews, Rodriguez is nowhere close to returning.

One has to wonder if A-Rod is protecting his hip or avoiding the PED media firestorm that is sure to hit when he returns?

The New York Yankees third baseman already said he was going to use his full complement of 20 rehab games:

A-Rod is 2-for-15 so far in six rehab games, all in Single A ball. The Yankees have until July 22 to make a determination of whether to reactivate him or put him back on the disabled list. After Tuesday's game, in which he went 0-for-3, A-Rod said he "will definitely be ready" at the end of his 20-day rehab stint.

But unlike (Derek) Jeter, not a day sooner. "I don't think there's any question that he will take the whole 20 days," GM Brian Cashman said. "I think the fact that one of my guys is playing in Single A and the other is in Triple A tells you which one is closer to returning."

Rodriguez has had his struggles, but six games in Class-A ball? Really?

While it's understandable for a hitter to be hesitant when first returning to live action, something is seriously wrong with his performance as of late.

One could understand if he was struggling in Double-A or Triple-A, but he's playing against guys who were still in diapers when he first came to the big leagues.

Being the highest-paid player in baseball, one would think he could do a little better at the plate in Class-A...right?

One source is Matthews' story, which said Rodriguez is possibly leaving himself an exit strategy since he's already "expressed uncertainty about when, or even if, he would be able to play again this season."

Let's not forget the 2012 postseason when Rodriguez was benched for poor play.

Then throw in the latest revelations that Major League Baseball is getting ready to suspend players involved in the Biogenesis scandal, according to Paul Hagen of

When you add it all together, one thing is clear—Rodriguez doesn't want to face the media scrutiny.

He already knows he's likely going to get suspended, and if so, the Hall of Fame is out of the question.

What's the point of facing the media this year when he could just go home and continue to rehab?

Players currently healthy will face the firestorm this year as it's a hot topic, while A-Rod sits back and waits until next year.

He can then come back next spring training, sit down and confess once again he used PEDs as teammates and fans rally around him.

A week or two later, it will be over with and A-Rod can get back to business.

It happened in 2009. The media and fans forgot about it after a week or two, and it will happen once again next year.

Rodriguez is smarter than you think and if he can save face by sitting out "injured" to avoid the firestorm, he'll do it—regardless if he's healthy or not.