Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 6/27/13

If you think Brian Cashman erupted after hearing Alex Rodriguez's tweet about getting the "green light to play games again!" on Tuesday, wait until the New York Yankees general manager finds out why A-Rod is so eager to return. According to The New York Daily News, sources close to the ongoing drama surrounding the scandalized Yankee third baseman, Rodriguez and his advisers are so concerned that Major League Baseball’s drug enforcers are so close to suspending him that they have sped up the timetable for A-Rod to return to game action. Once he’s back playing in rehab games, the sources say, he could then claim he is physically unable to perform because of the serious hip injury he is recovering from, “retire” from the game, and still collect the full amount of his salary — $114 million over the next five years. The Daily News quoted sources about Rodriguez's slick plan to cash out: “It’s all about him getting his money and not losing it to suspension,” one source close to the situation told the Daily News. “He knows he’s never going to the Hall of Fame. All that’s left for him is to make sure he gets his money — all of it.” One way to do that is for Rodriguez to return to game action, find he can no longer perform up to his standards, then retire before he’s hit with a suspension without pay. A player who retires because he is physically unable to perform, even if he’s later suspended, would still get the full amount of his contract. Albert Belle suffered a similar hip injury that ended his career in 2001, and he was forced to go on a series of 60-day disabled lists in order to collect the remainder of his contract. Now, a player who is deemed physically unable to perform is allowed by baseball to retire and still collect his money. Sources told the Daily News they believe MLB will try to suspend Rodriguez, no matter his status. If he is given a lifetime ban, he would not be able to re-enter the game in any capacity.  “It’s not going to have any effect on what or when MLB does something,” said a baseball source. The Yankees, who are currently paying Rodriguez’s $28 million 2013 salary, could conceivably then try to collect insurance on the remainder of the contract, as the Orioles did with Belle. After it was reported on Sunday that Rodriguez had been given medical clearance to begin playing in rehab games on July 1 as long as the Yankees felt he was ready to do so. Cashman began disputing that claim, saying only that the Yankees and their team of doctors, trainers and ultimately, Cashman, can clear Rodriguez for game action. Then on Tuesday night, after A-Rod made the infamous tweet that Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed hip surgery on A-Rod in January “gave me the best news — the green light to play games again!” and posting a weekend photo of himself with Kelly. When the news reached Cashman, he blew up in an interview, saying, “You know what? When the Yankees want to announce something, we will. Alex should just shut the f--- up. That’s it. I’m going to call Alex now.” Can't wait to hear what choice words he has for A-Rod on Thursday.

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