Even though the New York Yankees are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, there are still three games left for the Bombers in the regular series, which will be played at Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros.
On Thursday, the New York Daily News reported that Yankees third basemen Alex Rodriguez had gotten permission from the team to skip the final series against the Astros to head home and prepare for his impending appeal with Major League Baseball regarding the 211-game suspension, which is set to begin on September 30.
However, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman denied the Daily News' report and claimed it was false, as he told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York on Thursday night during the team's 4-0 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
"Totally false," Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com this afternoon. "Why wouldn't he be going? There's been no request for him not to go. Our manager hasn't been informed of it, our training staff hasn't been informed of it and I haven't been informed of it. As far as I'm concerned, he's going."
Rodriguez has been dealing with a hamstring issue since September 10 and has been playing through it, but it had limited him to designated hitter duties and not allowed him to play at third base for a while. Rodriguez took himself out of the game on Wednesday night against the Rays, as he reportedly told Yankees manager Joe Girardi that his legs "weren't feeling great," which could also explain why Rodriguez was not in the lineup in the Thursday night home finale.
It's very clear that he is playing hurt, as his average has dropped from near .300 to just .244 over the last few days, although he did hit the go-ahead grand slam for the Yankees against the San Francisco Giants in a 5-1 victory back on September 20. With the Yankees playing for nothing more than pride this weekend in Houston, it would make sense for the team to keep a lot of their starters on the bench and let the younger players see action against the Astros.
Before the game on Thursday, Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark-Star Ledger that he expects his third basemen to be with the team and as far as he knew, didn't have permission to skip out on the series.
"We expect him to be there," Girardi said. "He does not have permission not to be there."
In 44 games played, Rodriguez is hitting .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBI with a .348 on-base percentage, all playing under appeal from the August 5 ruling by Major League Baseball to suspend him for 211 games due to his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis case. Rodriguez has played the remainder of the season under appeal, which allowed him to suit up for the final two months of the season for the Yankees and has hired some of the best lawyers in the country in his defense to fight the suspension.
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