On Friday night, New York Yankees third basemen Alex Rodriguez looked like the A-Rod of old for the Class-AA Trenton Thunder as he went 1-for-2 and hit a towering home run in his first rehab game since July 19.
On Saturday, Rodriguez is expected to play again for Class-AA Trenton and work out in Trenton and then the plan is for him to be activated off the disabled list for the Yankees on Monday against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field. Rodriguez has missed the entire season to this point due to recovering from hip surgery and then a Grade 1 quad strain.
After he played in five innings for the Thunder on Friday, Rodriguez told reporters that he expects to be in the lineup playing for the Yankees against Chicago.
"Unless I get hit by lightning, and these days you never know, I expect to be out there ready to go," he said.
Rodriguez has been skeptical of the Yankees, as he's questioned whether or not they're trying to intentionally keep him off the field so that Major League Baseball can suspend him and the team wouldn't have to pay him any of the $28 million if he is suspended by the league for his involvement in Biogenesis in which he reportedly purchased and used performance enhancing drugs, as well as tried to tamper with MLB's investigation.
"I think that's the pink elephant in the room," Rodriguez said. "I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs. Thats a must. I think all the players feel that way. But when all the stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract, I think that's concerning for me. It's concerning for present (players) and it should be concerning for future players as well. There is a process. I'm excited about the way I feel tonight and I'm going to keep fighting."
The Yankees signed Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million deal back in December of 2007 and the team is still on hook for another five years and $105 million left on his current deal, one that pays him until he's 42.
Currently, MLB is trying to get Rodriguez to accept a plea bargain deal that allows him to serve a suspension for the rest of the year and all of 2014, which is 216 games, and allow him to return to baseball in 2015, where he'd be 39-years-old and inactive for two years. Unnamed MLB sources told Bill Madden of the New York Daily News that Rodriguez's choices could be to either accept a 200-game suspension or face a lifetime ban from the sport.
If MLB did decide to suspend Rodriguez before Monday, the troubled Yankees third basemen could appeal the suspension through the players union, which would allow him to play during the appeal process, something which has been reported that Rodriguez and his lawyers are expected to do.
"My job is to do everything I can physically and mentally to help my team win," he said. "As far as all the legal stuff, to me it's been confusing. The one thing I've gotten from so many people, so many fans, some teammates, they're like, 'What is going on? I think there's a lot of people that are confused, a lot of people that don't understand the process. I will say this: there is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field. That's my teammates and that's not the Yankee fans."
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