Yankees GM Brian Cashman fires back at Alex Rodriguez, lawyer

August 18, 2013 - 5:09 pm
Brian Cashman and Alex Rodriguez are not on speaking terms. Outside from a courtesy hello and goodbye, the longtime Yankees general manager said, he doesn'€™t speak to the embattled third baseman currently appealing his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis performance enhancing drug scandal. '€œI'€™m not comfortable talking to Alex because on this stuff I feel like we'€™re in a litigious environment,'€ a frustrated Cashman said while sitting in the visitor dugout at Fenway Park during an overcast Sunday evening, his arms folded and face tired. '€œHello, goodbye, that'€™s it. Anything else, I don'€™t want to be distorted. '€œIt'€™s probably not in my best interest to characterize [the pair'€™s personal relationship]. I'€™ve had a better one at some point.'€ The nearly half-hour media session came one day after the latest chapter of the Rodriguez melodrama, an explosive New York Times report with a new batch of allegations from one of Rodriguez'€™ lawyers, Joseph Tacopina, including that the Yankees tried to ruin his career by putting him in the lineup while he was hurt. Cashman was far from pleased with the new war Rodriguez and his legal team is waging against the organization. '€œWe'€™re stuck right now,'€ Cashman said. '€œWe'€™re stuck in the middle of a suspension and appeals process, and we have games going on and I know everybody has their own personal beliefs in it. I know it'€™s something from my end, is this a distraction for me? Yes, for me. I can'€™t speak for others, but I know it'€™s definitely a distraction for me. I have a lot of extra work from this now that'€™s very frustrating.'€ Rodriguez refused to comment on his lawyer'€™s statements. Tacopina told the Times that the Yankees declined to tell Rodriguez last October, during a playoff run in which he struggled mightily, that he had a torn labrum in his hip. According to Cashman, though, Rodriguez never once complained of the hip issue until manager Joe Girardi pinch-hit for him with Raul Ibanez in Game 3 of the ALDS. At that point, Rodriguez mentioned his right hip '€” not the left one he had surgery on during the offseason '€” was bothering him. Cashman vigorously defended the team'€™s medical team and the processes by which it operates. '€œAll I can tell you is what you already know. Medical records are factual,'€ Cashman said. '€œWe'€™re very comfortable with the business we'€™ve gone about. Nothing is hidden from the guy. '€¦ The medical records are what they are. If somebody wants to dispute them and fight over an opinion, it'€™s fine. There'€™s a process for that. No one purposely did anything besides put the best team on the field on a daily basis.'€ Cashman refused to get into any legal talk '€” '€œI'€™m not a lawyer,'€ he said '€” but was clearly disgruntled at the issue overall. '€œThere is a process in place. It'€™s called due process,'€ Cashman said. '€œWe'€™re dealing with a lot of headaches because he has the right to due process. '€œWe'€™ll go through the process regardless. We'€™re not afraid of it. We have medical records. We can'€™t change them. People can interpret those medical records. They can have outside people interpret those medical records. It'€™s fine. I trust our doctors. I trust New York Presbyterian, and also the outside doctors he was sent to.'€ The shots Tacopina fired put the organization in an awkward position, to say the least. On one hand, Rodriguez is slandering, as far as Cashman is concerned, his employer. On the other hand, teammates have to play with him, Girardi has to manage him and if he has any physical ailments, the medical staff has to treat him. '€œIt'€™s not an easy circumstance,'€ Cashman said. '€œLet'€™s put it this way: Our trainers will continue to provide the best medical care possible, our doctors will continue to provide the best medical care for Alex as well as anybody else. That'€™s what we have to do. Our guys in there are professionals.'€ Meanwhile, the Yankees are trying to get back in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs. Cashman acknowledged that Rodriguez, batting .279 with a .367 OBP in 11 games since his return, has helped in that pursuit. Cashman cited Vernon Wells as a specific example of Rodriguez'€™ teammates handling it in the utmost professional manner, which has been and will continue to be crucial as the never-ending saga continues. '€œWe have 24 guys in there are professional and are doing everything they can to win games,'€ Cashman said. '€œYou can allow it to be a distraction, but I think they'€™re going to rise above that and allow it to not be a distraction, despite all the extra stuff it creates.'€ Have any players said anything to Cashman about Rodriguez being a distraction? '€œI'€™m not going to comment on that,'€ Cashman said. So is whatever on-field production he offers worth the headache? '€œI'€™m not going to comment on that either,'€ Cashman said. '€œThis is clearly an issue that none of us ever signed up for, I can tell you that.'€