The New York Yankees, as usual, will attract their fair share of attention as the team converges in Florida for Spring Training. But this season, they might just end up facing a few less questions from the media.
That’s because the team has told Alex Rodriguez, its highest-paid player and most notable lightning rod (pun somewhat intended) for controversy, to stay home in New York.
Before we go any further, let’s just first point out that there are legitimate baseball reasons for this. As manager Joe Girardi points out, the team’s third baseman is “not really ready to do anything with [the Yankees] yet from a baseball standpoint,” so the team would just prefer that he stay home to continue the rehabilitation process from the Jan. 16 surgery on his left hip.
Of course, it just so happens that Rodriguez has been linked to PEDs again with the recent investigation into Biogenesis and the strained (and still straining) relationship between him and the Yankees may be better served with him not being around his teammates.
Why? Well, you know, because there are folks who might have more than a few questions about the whole thing, even though it’s been years since Rodriguez admitted to using PEDs at one time in his career.
That said, it’s possible that A-Rod’s absence could also generate its own set of questions, right?
Not for Girardi, though. The manager can see that line of thinking from a mile away and he’s already got a company line to deflect it, saying “[Rodriguez] being in New York has nothing to do with trying to get rid of a distraction. It’s the best place for him to be.”
You could feel free to take that with a grain of salt given the circumstances, but it is worth noting that when A-Rod was coming off surgery in his right hip, he also missed most of Spring Training then. So, it’s not like getting him to stay home is setting any new precedents here.
Still, it fits nicely into the narrative, doesn’t it?
Whether or not it’s motivated by doing the best thing for the player, or doing so for the sake of the team, the Yankees will go through camp without its most notorious player for the first time in years – and that can only be a good thing.