The New York Yankees, Manager Joe Girardi admitted, can use Alex Rodriguez’s bat in the lineup. But there’s going to be a surreal scene that accompanies his presence in pinstripes Monday night in Chicago.
A-Rod is expected to be suspended by Major League Baseball today for his ties to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic and, according to multiple reports, will play as he files an appeal that could take a month to resolve.
It’ll be “a bit of a circus,” Vernon Wells admits. You think? It’ll be one of the bigger “get yer popcorn” moments of the summer. Although the Yankees publicly profess that they’ll accept the return of their third baseman, a New York Post front page trumpets, “Just Go” with a back-page kicker: “And the Banned Played on.”
Girardi was succinct about his plans: “I’m not going to bring him up here and sit him.”
“I don’t know if anyone really knows what’s happening,” said Derek Jeter, who may be headed back to the disabled list with a calf strain. “But he’s our teammate; if he’s here [Monday], we’ll look forward to seeing him.”
Publicly, the Yankees are presenting a united front although privately one player, who was unnamed, told the New York Daily News that the team is “just tired” of the drama.
“I think Alex will do his best to keep as much of it out of the clubhouse as he can, and what he has control over,” Wells said. “I think the good thing is everyone knows the situation, knows what it could potentially be like, what the atmosphere’s going to be like, so there’s not fear of the unknown.”
So, unless he is “struck by lightning,” the only thing he said the other day that could keep him away, A-Rod will play ball, starting at at 8:10 p.m. (EDT) at U.S. Cellular Field. His rehab assignment with the Yankees’ Trenton affiliate is finished and, although he made a veiled comment about a conspiracy Friday night, on Saturday he was saying only “I’m flying to Chicago.”
A-Rod’s public-relations spokesman hinted at what might be Rodriguez’s inner feelings as he joins his teammates for a game for the first time this year. In a tweet that has since been deleted, he wrote: Hello Chicago!!! Lets do this!!! #fighting”