Column: What part of 'shut ... up' did A-Rod miss?

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 27, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JIM LITKE AP Sports Writer The instructions were so simple it makes you wonder what part of ''just shut ... up'' Alex Rodriguez didn't understand. Yankees GM Brian Cashman's directive the other day was calibrated for maximum effect, sure. He knew exactly what he was doing. It's why he tucked a profanity in the middle. But Cashman also knows better than anyone that for better or worse - probably worse, and certainly for the foreseeable future - the ball club and A-Rod are stuck with each other. Bottom line, all he asked for at the moment was a little peace and quiet. Like the majority of Yankee fans and just about everybody else up and down the club's chain of command, Cashman probably wishes A-Rod would just retire, preferably to a mountain-top retreat. Or else beg for a trade, maybe to Rodriguez's hometown Marlins, but ideally to a ball club on the other side of world, say Japan or Korea. But Cashman can't do a thing about it. Rodriguez has a surgically repaired hip and a legally binding contract. The Yankees desperately need more offense, especially with Mark Teixeira now out for the rest of the season with a bum wrist and Rodriguez's replacements at third hitting a combined .240, with just four homers and 23 RBIs through Wednesday. If A-Rod comes back after the All-Star break as planned, and manages at age 38 to put up marginally better numbers than those, the job will still be his. That's assuming that he doesn't get suspended, despite being tied to a now-shuttered, anti-aging clinic in Miami being investigated for dispensing performance-enhancing drugs. It's hardly a good solution, but right now it's the only one. The Yankees are committed to paying Rodriguez him $28 million this year, and $86 million more through 2017. Dumb as that deal looks now, A-Rod makes it look even dumber every time he calls attention to himself. After benching him through last year's playoffs, the Yankees told Rodriguez to focus more on baseball in the offseason than celebrity. But A-Rod couldn't resist. Barely a week later, he was spied escorting former WWE wrestler and girlfriend-of-the-moment Torrie Wilson around Beverly Hills, checking out pricey real estate. Next he opened a Twitter account and added another publicist or two to his already considerable stable. Predictably, trouble soon followed. Rodriguez' early posts were about things most people already knew, with the occasional exclamation point to make it feel more like real news: ''First time facing live pitching today ... Simulated game yesterday - nice to see real game pitching action!'' So, presumably, when a team doctor cleared A-Rod to begin playing real games, he simply treated it as more of the same: ''Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news - the green light to play games again!'' Cashman could have reacted by picking up the phone and directing Rodriguez to the appropriate pages in the handbook regarding how injuries are reported. As manager Joe Girardi reminded him after Tuesday night's game, ''It goes through our training staff, our doctors, our GM and then it probably gets to me.'' A day later, Rodriguez picked up the phone and spoke with Cashman and team president Randy Levine for 30 minutes. ''Everybody is on the same page and we're all going to communicate and work together to get Alex back as quickly as possible,'' Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said. ''They're all back on track.'' Except they weren't. Instead of letting the whole thing end there, someone inside A-Rod's camp told ESPN.com that Rodriguez doesn't feel the club really wants him back. That's likely true. But unlike Rodriguez, and unlike all the past attempts to publicly shame their overpriced asset, the Yankees said little. Cashman's terse ''just shut ... up'' was revealing for just how annoyed he's become, but more than that, it was advice that A-Rod do the same. By coincidence, Yankee captain Derek Jeter took another step Thursday in his own long rehabilitation from a broken ankle. Rodriguez has always suffered in the comparison with Jeter, and so it was one more time. Part of the rehab process involves a minor-league assignment, and when reporters asked the date it would begin, all Jeter said was, ''As soon as I can get out there, I'll get out there. We haven't got that far yet.'' Not that hard, is it? --- Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top eight takeways from Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas

Tony Romo upset with situation, distancing himself from teammates and coach

Kings owner looking for an executive to place over Vlade Divac

Elway: Broncos plan to 'stay the course' with Siemian, Lynch

Boykin may have violated probation, could face jail time

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USF suspends DB indefinitely for role in shooting, arrest

Softball player, coach get physical in handshake line

Kraft: Patriots do not intend to trade Malcolm Butler

Brandon Marshall talks about how he can help Odell Beckham

Scherzer makes Tebow look silly in spring training at-bat

Lonzo Ball discusses headlines his father creates

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The 28 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker