Ready for some drama? Dr. Michael Gross, head of sports medicine at Hackensack and the doctor behind A-Rod‘s second opinion, just said during an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN that Rodriguez is not injured. Gross said that A-Rod has no pain and also noted that A-Rod thinks he could play tonight if the Yanks so choose. Gross examined an MRI earlier and had authority from Rodriguez to discuss the results on the air. “To be perfectly honest, I don’t see any injury there,” Gross said while acknowledging that a slight Grade 1 strain may not appear on an MRI.
The Yanks haven’t said anything yet, but they can’t be pleased. The team cut A-Rod’s rehab short this weekend when a quad injury occurred, but many reports, based on anonymous sources, described A-Rod’s unhappiness with the decision. Now, with Gross’ public comments, A-Rod is forcing the issue. If he could play right now and the team is holding him back over the looming Biogenesis suspension, I think he’s completely in the right for allowing his doctor to speak publicly on the FAN. I’m sure we’ll hear more over the next few hours. (Additional reporting by Benjamin Kabak)
Update (4:20pm): According to Chad Jennings, A-Rod never informed the team he was getting a second opinion. The CBA gives players the right to get a “second evaluation” from a doctor of their choice, but they have to notify the team in writing first. Brett Gardner used the rule to get a second opinion on his elbow last season. It’s unclear if the team can hand down any discipline in this case, but various reports indicate it wouldn’t be anything significant. Alex may simply have to pay for his own doctor’s visit.
Update (4:40 p.m.): Ken Davidoff spoker further with Gross, and the doctor clarified his views. He did not examine A-Rod, but rather, he saw the MRI results and spoke with Rodriguez. He also stressed to The Post that he has not approved A-Rod for game action.
“I can’t clear him to play,” Gross said. “I’ve never examined him. He knows I can’t clear him to play. I wouldn’t even call it a second opinion. The Yankees have nothing to do with me. The only thing he said to me was he feels he’s ready to play.”
The Yankees haven’t released a statement yet, but Gross seems like he does not want to be the center of attention here. “I have no agenda in this,” he said. “I think that’s probably why they asked me, because I’m not a big name, a famous guy. I’m not Alex’s doctor. I’m not the Yankees’ doctor. In my opinion, I didn’t see much going on. I’m happy to say that, because it’s factual. All I’m saying is, this is what I saw or didn’t see. What they do with it, what they make of it, have fun.”