ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. One criticism of baseball is that it's too prone to long stretches of inaction, players sitting around not doing much. Well, if that's what baseball is, then Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been Mr. Baseball this season. He's been on the disabled list, but he claims he's healthy enough to play. His team begs to differ. Here to talk about the confusion is NPR's Mike Pesca, who joins us from New York. Hi, Mike.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Hello.
SIEGEL: What can we say about the state of Alex Rodriguez's health?
PESCA: What a state. It is the mild quad sprain that is rending the Yankee pinstripes, great one quad sprain, the Yankees will say. So as of now, he was suffering through a hip injury, and he rehabbed it. And for a week or so, Rodriguez has been insisting, let me in, coach. And the Yankees are saying, not so quick. And Rodriguez has gone to the - gone to some great lengths to try to convince the Yankees that he's OK. He's tweeted out that his doctor has cleared me to play. The Yankees have told him to shut up.
He provided a doctor to a local radio station who testified that Alex Rodriguez's MRI looked good. This was unconvincing and, in fact, you're not supposed to use an outside doctor as part of the collective bargaining agreement. Alex Rodriguez just can't get back on the field.
SIEGEL: Yeah. That second opinion seems to have done Alex Rodriguez much more harm than good.
PESCA: It turns out the doctor that he consulted who has good credentials is a guy named Michael Gross, who was once admonished by the state of New Jersey - I have it right here - for providing hormones to patients. He hired an individual who had completed medical school but did not have a license to practice medicine. But because hormones and steroids were mixed up in that description of what this doctor did wrong, having the wrong or not quite yet a physician prescribe these pills, the tabloids went crazy with it. Is it another PED scandal to lay upon Rodriguez's feet or quad as the case may be?
SIEGEL: Well, what about the scandal involving the South Florida anti-aging clinic, Biogenesis? Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has already been suspended 65 games for his involvement with Biogenesis. Where does Alex Rodriguez fit into the league's investigation?
PESCA: Right. So Alex Rodriguez is purportedly all over the books of Biogenesis, and the league has subpoenaed and used Tony Bosch, who was the man who ran that clinic. And Bosch can testify, and the league says he will testify that Rodriguez was a frequent customer. The league says that they have so much more evidence on Alex Rodriguez than they had on Braun, and they've leaked to certain reporters that a lifetime ban is on the table for Alex Rodriguez. This is sort of saber-rattling pre-negotiation.
Rodriguez and his camp have sort of rattled back that we're going to fight this with everything we've can. We should say that another thing that's affecting this whole situation is the fact that if Rodriguez can't play either through a combination of a suspension or because an injury keeps him out, the Yankees do stand to collect some money in insurance. So it's another thing that you have to add to the mix. Rodriguez, it has been reported, is suspecting the Yankees of sort of operating in bad faith. A lot of bad feelings about - around everything involved here.
SIEGEL: And we should state it openly, Alex Rodriguez is one of the most accomplished, highest paid, best successful slugging baseball players of his day. Is there anybody out there in his corner?
PESCA: Yeah. It's funny. And he's totally unliked as a result.
PESCA: It has something to - not really, you don't even hear the pro forma teammates sticking up for him, which is just people do almost instinctively in the world of sports. You never hear anyone in uniform saying a kind thing about Alex Rodriguez. He hasn't committed major crimes. I mean, maybe the PEDs, but that's yet to be proven. I mean, does that really hurt anybody? He just is called things like a phony and inauthentic, and the kind of things that, you know, you would describe some of the drama in a high school. It's not tangible stuff, but it seems that no one who's ever played with Rodriguez has enjoyed the experience.
I've got to think that the fact that he has the richest contract in baseball history certainly fuels some jealousy. Either way, he is owed 23 million by the Yankees this year if they have to pay him.
SIEGEL: OK. Thanks, Mike.
PESCA: You're welcome.
SIEGEL: That's NPR's Mike Pesca talking about Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is still not in the lineup. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.