WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON NYT STORY?
“It’s what his lawyers said on his behalf. Listen, all I can tell you is what you already know. The medical records are factual. If they have a dispute with the medical records, you know, we are very comfortable with everything we’ve gone about – the business we’ve gone about. No one has hid anything from the guy.
“If you all remember last year, let’s turn the clock back again: We entered the playoffs. He finally gets healthy from the broken wrist. I think you guys, not us, the media asked him how he feels going into the playoffs and he said he felt the best he ever felt or something to that effect. Correct? He’s not getting any treatment for anything. It’s all factual, it’s in the medical training logs. He’s got no complaints publicly or privately. You all have access to that stuff. The bottom line is he wasn’t getting treatment for anything.
“It wasn’t until he got pinch-hit for, did he start complaining. At that moment when Joe gave him the courtesy heads up I’m going to pinch-hit Ibanez for you. … We have a whole level of medical staff; we have team doctors, we have team trainers, we have a strength and conditioning coach, we have chiropractors, all of which get their hands on this guy. All of which he interacts with; every single one of them has their own level of communications with each of our players that they provide services for. And they’re all the same. No complaints. Nothing.”
WHICH HIP WAS HE COMPLAIN ABOUT?
He told Joe when he pinch-hit Ibanez for him in the playoffs, he told Joe, ‘Listen my right hip…’ – the one that didn’t get surgery – that’s the complaint that he complained about at that moment. Prior to that, he was never seeking treatment – this is all stuff you’ve already been covered with, I’m just reminding you – and then even after Joe pinch-hits with Ibanez and he says what he says, we’re getting ready to go to Baltimore, so we get him looked at that night and the right hip came out clean.
“So then he meets with Joe separately and says, ‘Listen, don’t give up on me, put me back in there.’ He’s fighting to stay in. Fighting to stay in. But I see Alex’s comments saying ‘I never should have been out there,’ which contradicts his own comments. I see his attorney talking about we’re running him out there like an invalid? I guess he’s also lumping Alex in that, because, again, I don’t get it; he was fighting to play.
“We checked him out to make sure he could play and over the next few games, both Baltimore as well as Detroit, do you play him or not based on is there a better option because he’s not playing well? And you ask, ‘Are you healthy, are you healthy, do you feel good?’ and up until that play with the pinch hitting he never said anything and even after that he was fighting to still play. Listen, I think the medical records are what they are. And if somebody wants to dispute them and fight over an opinion that’s fine. But there’s a process for it. There’s a process for that.
“But no one purposely did anything other than try to put the best team out on that field on a daily basis. We tried to win that Orioles series the best we could, we wish we swept and we didn’t. We went all the way (to five games) and advanced to Detroit. We wish we beat the Tigers; we didn’t. We would rather have been the ones playing in the World Series last year and not coming off a horrible devastating sweep.”
ALEX SEEMS TO BE DECLARING WAR ON YANKEE MANAGEMENT?
“It’s not just Yankees management. He’s putting it at the level of our trainers, our medical staff. The organization. The team.”
IS IT BECOMING UNTENABLE FOR HIM TO CONTINUE PLAYING FOR YANKEES WHILE HIS REPRESENTATIVES TRASH TEH TEAM?
“There is a process in place. It’s called due process. Sometimes due process can be very bumpy, and we’re obviously dealing with a lot of headaches as he has the right to due process. But we’re here in Fenway Park yesterday and an hour before game time this stuff gets launched and it’s going to continue. Again, listen, we’re doing everything we possibly can to focus and have our guys remain focused. I think Girardi’s done a fantastic job, I think our coaches have done a great job, I think our players are doing a remarkable job of trying to separate from something that I don’t think any of us has ever had to deal with. This is new territory. It’s a lot of extra that’s not by our doing.”
CAN YOU THINK OF ANY COMPARISONS TO THIS SITUATION?
“We’ve never had anything like this. This is my 16th year. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
CAN YOU ENVISION A SUCCESSFUL COEXISTENCE DOWN THE ROAD BETWEEN A-ROD AND YANKEES?
“I had a relationship with Alex for a long time. I’ve certainly been on the side of either fighting for him publicly when he had been in circumstances where there’s things involved whether it’s in our clubhouse or interpretations of things that took place on the field, publicly supporting him in stuff like that. It’s a two-way street at the same time. The biggest thing is making sure these guys can play the game, be focused and ready to play on the field. Whether people like each other or not, like what they’re doing or not; right now, clearly, he was suspended – not by the Yankees, but by Major League Baseball. He’s fighting an appeal. He has rights to have his say, but clearly, it’s a lot of extra stuff and frustrations and distractions that we didn’t bring upon ourselves, I know that.”
IS IT STRANGE FOR YOUR TRAINERS TO BE TREATING HIM WHILE HE’S AT WAR WITH THE TEAM?“It’s not an easy circumstance. Let’s put it this way; our trainers will continue to provide the best medical care possible. Our doctors will continue to provide the best medical care possible. That is for Alex as well as anybody else regardless of what they say and what they do. That’s what we have to do. Our guys in there are professional. Steve Donohue does a great job. Chris Ahmad does a great job. Dana Cavalea does a great job. Gil Chimes does a great job. Mark Littlefield does a great job. They’re all doing the best they possibly can to provide and react if a player comes with a complaint, depending on whatever the complaint is, they have protocols that they start to execute and put in place.
“They’re going to continue to do that for Alex as well as anybody else on the team. Is it an unusual circumstance? Absolutely. Are any of these people happy with these allegations that continue to get thrown? It’s odd. It’s odd and it’s false, but we still have to go through the motions. We’re stuck right now regardless. We’re stuck in the middle of a suspension and an appeal process. We have games going on and I know everybody has their own personal beliefs in it.
“I know it’s something definitely from my end, is this a distraction? For me, yes. I can’t speak for others but I know it’s definitely a distraction for me. I’ve got a lot of extra work from this stuff. It’s very frustrating. You saw how that frustration manifested itself earlier in the year with my comment to false information he put out about being cleared for rehab by a doctor, Dr. Kelly didn’t even clear him, he didn’t even talk to Kelly. He never cleared him. It’s having to react to inaccuracies is frustrating and it’s extra work.
“Is it a distraction from my end? Yeah, it is. That’s why I think Joe has done a great job and our coaching staff has done a great job. We have a lot of players in there that they might have their own personal opinions of what’s taking place but I think that they’re able to separate it for the most part or they’re trying to for the best of their abilities. At some point, it’s definitely an issue.”
CAN YOU IMAGINE RANDY LEVINE MADE THE COMMENT TO DR. KELLY THAT ALEX’S LAWYER CLAIMS?
“No. I was on every conference call with Dr. Kelly with Randy, with Jean Afterman. I don’t know if Chris was on every call or not. I can tell you that did not happen.”
IS THERE ANY LEGAL RECOURSE FOR YANKEES?
“I’m not a lawyer. I just know that everyone is responsible for their actions. If there’s anything that we’re responsible for, hey, we feel that we’ve done everything that we should be doing. We feel our medical staff has done everything that they should be doing. Everybody has gone about our business the way it should be done. If someone has an issue with that, there’s a process to go through.
“I think it’s odd that we’re talking about in August of 2013 something that wasn’t complained about in October of 2012, but here we are. And why are we here? I don’t know. I can’t answer all that stuff. We’ll go through the process regardless. We’re not afraid of it. We have medical records, you can’t change them, people can interpret those medical records. They can have outside personnel interpret those medical records, it’s fine. Listen, I trust our doctors, I trust New York Presbyterian and also the outside doctors that he was sent to. Dr. Kelly is with HSS. In this particular case, he’s been seeing the best doctors you can possibly see. It’s hard for me to answer some of this stuff because it’s so explosive.”
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH ALEX LIKE?
“It’s probably not in my best interests to characterize it. I had a better one, but at some point it’s hard to engage somebody too easily when this stuff is going on. You saw yesterday, you see the attorney say what he said but then Alex is talking to you guys after the game bewildered it seems like when I’m reading the comments — like I can’t really comment, I don’t know what he said. It’s almost as if he doesn’t know anything about it, which we all know that he does.”
WHEN WAS LAST TIME YOU TALKED TO ALEX?
“I saw him the other night at the hotel. Friday night. I said hello. I’ve said hello. I don’t walk by him. He’s a member of this team. He’s walking by there [on the field] right now.
DO YOU THINK IT’S COUNTERPRODUCTIVE FOR ALEX’S LAWYER TO SAY THIS STUFF AT THE SAME TIME ALEX HIMSELF SAYS HE’S TRYING TO FOCUS ON BASEBALL?
“Listen, none of this stuff is productive. Being involved with Biogenesis isn’t productive; the allegations, at least, of being involved with Biogenesis. None of this stuff is productive. It’s hard for me to … Listen, the last thing any of you or me want to be dealing with is this. It’s a unique circumstance that we’ve never found ourselves in off the top of my head, where you’re going through a 211-game suspension and an appeal process for violation of the drug program.
“There’s not much to say about that other than the fact that I wish we weren’t dealing with any of this stuff. But the latest charges about our medical team — you’ve all heard it, they’ve been saying this stuff off the record to you for months – now they went with it on the record with obviously his latest attorney, and so now we’re forced to talk about it. Listen, every one of you lived through that stuff in real time. You lived through this stuff with us in October. You talked to him before the series started. You talked to him during the series. You talked to him about the frustration (of being benched). I challenge any one of you, did he ever volunteer to any one of you that, ‘I don’t feel right’? No. He never said it. Same to us.
“He never said anything to us about it either, because there wasn’t a complaint. He wasn’t getting any treatment for anything, unless he was seeing doctors off line that we weren’t a part of, and that’s part of the process that he’s going through now in the appeal process about separate doctors that the club has no knowledge of seeing. I can just tell you the medical profile that we have, and the medical records that we have, they’ll stand on their own merit. We don’t have access to all his medical records. We don’t have access to things he’s done away from us. It’s a head scratcher, but when you’re in this reality that we’re in right now, the positions taken today are different than the positions he was taking last October.”
DID A-ROD EVER HAVE MRI ON HIP?
“Yeah, it was taken right after the complaint when he pinch hit that night. I believe it was that night.”
HIS RIGHT HIP?
“Yeah. Uh huh.”
Ongoing war of words continues with A-Rod and Yankees brass.
WHAT ABOUT AN MRI ON LEFT HIP?
“No. The MRI that was taken was for his right hip. Does the left hip show up in the MRI? I couldn’t tell you if it does or it doesn’t. The right hip was the complaint from the pinch hitting, and that’s what they evaluated was how his hip was and his complaint on that right hip. He was cleared from that, and that was it; cleared to continue to play.”
“He went and saw Philippon, and I can’t even tell you if Philippon did a new MRI. I suspect he did, normally they would, and that’s when all of a sudden – whatever that later date was, which I don’t have – Philippon determined that his problem was on the left side and he needs surgery. That was the first that we ever heard anything about the left hip.”
DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE YOU NEED HIM TO HELP YOU TO WIN?
“He is helping. On the field, he’s helping.”
WOULD CLUB CONSIDER RELEASING HIM IF THIS GOES ON?
“That’s not something for me. I don’t think that’s something that would be considered, personally.”
WHAT ABOUT SUSPENDING HIM FOR INSUBORDINATION?
“I don’t want to get into speculation and stuff like that. Listen, I’ve got guys in there – Vernon Wells I’ll use as an example. He’s a complete pro. He knows how to separate the noise from the game on the field and the pregame on the field and stuff like that, so I’ll use him as an example of many guys in that clubhouse that we are counting on to not let this interfere.
“What’s going on between Alex and Major League Baseball and now Alex and the New York Yankees with his allegations of mistreating him medically and all that stuff, I think we have 24 guys in there that are professional and doing everything that they possibly can to try to win games. I think this stuff can be, you can allow it to be a distraction. I think that they’re going to rise above that and allow it to not be a distraction, regardless of all the extra stuff it creates. It’s certainly going to create more questions.
“Instead of yesterday’s game and how we lost, or the day before how we won, it might be less about those games and more about this. But either way, I think they’re professional and they’ll handle everything they possibly can to try to help you guys do your job and everything else like that, and try to do their job at the same time.”
HAVE YOU HEARD FROM PLAYERS SAYING THAT IT’S A DISTRACTION?
“I’m not going to comment on that.”
IS ALEX WORTH THIS HEADACHE?
“I’m not going to comment on that either. Clearly this is an issue that none of us ever signed up for. I know that our medical staff – as they’ve done with all of our players in our clubhouse – have done everything that they possibly can to try to assist Alex and help Alex and diagnose Alex and have given the best proper medical care, as well – as I remind everybody – in the basic agreement, if you have any question or if you have a personal dispute about it, you have a right to a second opinion. It’s built into the basic agreement for a reason. He’s always had that avenue.
“He’s never taken it other than when he utilized it recently, went outside of the basic agreement, as you all know. And he even told us even on that that (quadriceps) issue, he even told us when it leaked that he wasn’t certain that we were accurate. I called him up and he told me directly, or he called me – actually he responded to a text – he told me directly, ‘That’s not true. I trust your medical judgment, I trust your people’s medical judgment. I have no problem.’”
“He flat out, verbally — it’s not via text – ‘I’ve got no problem.’ Next thing you know, we’ve got this guy Michael Gross on a media tour saying he’s reviewed the MRI received from Alex and his people and contradicting our position. It’s like, how do you handle that? I felt like Selena Roberts a little bit there, or Katie Couric, or anybody else I can come up with because I know that, at that moment in time, I was lied to.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING ON HERE?
“He’s said it, obviously he’s fighting a suspension. He’s fighting a suspension.”
DO YOU NEED TO SEE HIS MEDICAL RECORDS BEFORE YOU GIVE HIM YOURS?
“That’s for the lawyers. That’s all for the lawyers. He’s obligated, we’re supposed to have all his medical records, but I can tell you we don’t.”
DO YOU THINK HE IS ISOLATED FROM TEAMMATES?
“Our team wants to do everything they can possibly do to close the gap and secure a playoff berth. Alex is part of that process, and he can help us. And he has helped us since he’s returned despite everything else that’s going on. Due process is important. It can suck sometimes for all of use, whether it’s you having to cover this story – because most of the people here probably aren’t investigative reporters, they’re actually baseball reporters, mostly, maybe every one of you here is a baseball reporter rather than. If there’s any investigative reporters here, this is up your alley, but you didn’t sign up for this. I didn’t sign up for this. But this is something we’re having to deal with.
“While due process is taking place, can he help us? Yeah. We’ve tried to get him back as fast as we possibly and practically could because he’s by far the best option that we can run out there at third base, just like we’re waiting for Derek Jeter to come back. We’d love to have him back sooner rather than later. But he’s not back right now, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Our medical staff is doing the best they possibly can to treat Derek and give him everything necessary to get him back and fight with his teammates.”
IS IT WEIRD TO ROOT FOR HIM AT PLATE WHILE HE IS AT WAR WITH TEAM?
“These are unique times.”
ARE MEDICAL RECORDS FROM DR. GALEA THE ONLY ONES YOU DON’T HAVE?
“I’m not going to comment. Well, I don’t know what we don’t’ have because I don’t know where else he’s been. Allegedly, whatever Biogenesis, if that’s doctors or alleged doctors, we don’t have those records. I don’t know.”
WHAT ABOUT HIS TREATMENT IN GERMANY?
“That was sanctioned. He asked to do that. That’s another example of something he brought to us to consider. Kobe Bryant suggested to him, because Kobe went there for his knee. It was something out of the box. It’s an example of the Yankees saying alright, if this is something that he thinks might help, and our doctor vetted it, and we okayed it and put him up over there.”
IS IT HARD TO BELIEVE HE IS SIGNED ON FOR FOUR MORE YEARS?
“I haven’t thought about anything except our focus still, despite all this, is we’ve got to win tonight’s game in Fenway Park. We’ve got an off-day tomorrow. We’ll go from there. We’re trying everything in our power to win. We added Reynolds right before this series, Soriano a couple weeks beforehand. We’ve made some promotions, Huff is now a second lefthander in our bullpen. We’re trying to find ways as we’ve done all year. We’re playing this season for a reason. We want to make the postseason and then take our chances. That’s our focus. I have not looked at next year or going forward. Haven’t even thought about it.
“The only thing Hal Steinbrenner and his family have been caring about is trying to find ways to win. It’s the same family that felt the same way last October, tried to find ways to win. Joe Girardi was wrestling with what’s the best team. We had many a meeting, who should we play, and how do we match up. It wasn’t easy having meetings where Joe Girardi tells Curtis Granderson we’re going to sit you today and play somebody else. Or Alex Rodriguez we’re going to sit you today and play somebody else. It was just what’s the best chance to win that day’s game period. That’s all we’ve been trying to do.
“Some days we make better decisions than others, but I would tell you this, there should never be a doubt – ever – that we as an organization are trying to win. Because we are. Joe Girardi has been trying to do everything he can to win with his decision making as have we. There’s obviously a lot of factors that go into it, whether it’s health, whether it’s payroll that can affect the decision making or guide you a different way. But the stuff that was alleged yesterday is just false.”
WILL YOU TALK TO HIM ABOUT CALMING THIS DOWN?
“I’m not comfortable talking to Alex on this stuff because I feel we’re in a litigious environment. So I am not comfortable anymore talking to him. I think it’s pretty self-evident, like yesterday’s stuff, is that helpful to anything, to the process? I don’t think it’s helpful. Me talking to him about it, it’s not going to … I don’t feel comfortable talking to him. Last time I had one of those conversations I got on the phone and he got somebody who wasn’t even a union lawyer on the phone. It wasn’t even one of his agents. It was obviously a separate law firm that, as you saw, is documenting every discussion. That’s again another unique circumstance we’re not accustomed to dealing with.”
SO JUST HELLO & GOODBYE?
“I’m most comfortable talking about that. Hello, goodbye, and that’s it. Because anything else, I don’t want to be distorted, to be quite honest.”
WILL ALEX CONTINUE TO BE TREATED BY YOUR MEDICAL STAFF?
“Stevie’s in there ready to give Alex the best he’s got just like he’s ready to give every one of our players the best he’s got. Chris Ahmad, they’re all professionals. If something happened to one of our players including him in game tonight or going forward, they’re going to do the best we can.”
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH ALEX SEEING THEM?
“Yes because we trust our medical people. They have years of experience. They’ve done this for a long time. Is everybody perfect? No, no one is perfect. But their interests and efforts, I don’t doubt that in any way at any time.”
IS THERE ANY UPDATE ON JETER?
“As an example of a distraction, I don’t have an update on Derek Jeter. He’s going through a process, but unfortunately, because of all the extra stuff, I don’t have that. I apologize.”