In an ominous sign for the Yankees’ $275 million superstar, Rodriguez traveled from his final scheduled rehab game in Scranton to New York, where an MRI taken on his left quadriceps revealed a Grade 1 strain, according to a team press release.
Instead of making his highly publicized return to the Yankees in Texas Monday — something Yankee GM Brian Cashman said Friday was the team’s "expectation ... as long as we get through the weekend OK" — Rodriguez remained on the disabled list and will head to Tampa.
"I am extremely disappointed with the results of the MRI and am hoping to be back as soon as possible and continue with my goal of coming back and helping the Yankees win a championship," Rodriguez said in a statement.
Rodriguez sustained the injury while sliding into second base on Friday night. He played as the designated hitter the next night. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Yet he sounded positive on Sunday morning. He said he expected to "strap it on Tuesday."
The Yankees weren't so optimistic later that afternoon.
"He’s going to be out for a while," said manager Joe Girardi after an 8-7 loss to Boston in 11 innings.
"So we’ll just deal with it, and continue to play."
Rodriguez’s 20-day rehabilitation assignment expired on Sunday. He cannot play in minor-league games. The Yankees could petition Major League Baseball to allow Rodriguez to begin another 20-day assignment, because of the new injury.
But for now, he’ll be relegated to simulated games at best. For the Yankees, Rodriguez remains a $100 million problem. What, exactly, does he have left? Girardi admitted to pondering the question.
"I think we’re all a little anxious to see how he looks physically, and how he’s moving," Girardi said. "Was this surgery as successful as the other one [before the 2009 season]? From the other one he came back great, and moved fine."
"I am anxious to see him," added Girardi. "He hasn’t played in a while, and he’s almost 38. You kind of want to see what you’ve got."
The injury is the same kind that sent Derek Jeter back to the DL after a one-game comeback. The Yankees captain is still nursing a Grade-1 quadriceps strain experienced in his first game back on July 11 and the team doesn't want to see a repeat scenario with A-Rod.
"You hope for the best,” Jeter said. “I don’t have enough information on that. I hope he doesn’t have what I have."
You can't blame Girardi for suddenly developing a case of quadrophobia.
"We’ve had to deal with it all year," Girardi said. "So it’s not like it’s not par for the course."