Alex Rodriguez made a statement on the field in his return to minor-league action Friday night, but it was his statements after the game that will get the most attention.
Rodriguez played in Double-A Trenton Friday as he recovers from a quad injury suffered last month during rehab from hip surgery. But while he rehabs, the threat of a significant suspension from MLB over his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal looms.
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According to multiple reports, Rodriguez is being threatened with a lifetime ban if he does not come to a plea agreement with the league. He has vowed to fight any suspension. Media reports indicate the league would like to hand down a suspension on Monday.
Meanwhile, should Rodriguez be suspended, the Yankees will not have to pay the slugger. It's a point of contention Orioles manager Buck Showalter complained about Wednesday and one Rodriguez clearly alluded to Friday as he implied the Yankees might rather see him suspended.
"There are a lot of layers," Rodriguez told reporters after the game. "I will say this, there is more than one party that benefits from me not being on the field. It's not my teammates and not the fans."
Though he would not specify, those two parties appear to be the Yankees, who won't have to pay him, and MLB, who would prefer not to see the drug-stained slugger back on the field.
Rodriguez made a statement on the field Friday night as he hit a deep home run in his second at-bat. He walked on five pitches in his first at-bat and struck out in his third and final at-bat.
The third baseman has twice been involved in strange incidents this season while rehabbing in which he openly defied the Yankees.
First, Rodriguez tweeted a photo of himself saying he had been cleared to return, inciting the ire of general manager Brian Cashman, who ripped into Rodriguez and told a reporter the slugger should "shut the f— up."
Then last week Rodriguez's personal doctor, Michael Gross, made the media rounds saying he had seen the MRI and his client had not injured his quad. The doctor, apparently on behalf of Rodriguez, said the Yankees were intentionally delaying his return.
Rodriguez said after Friday's game he is "mentally prepared to play for five more years." He is owed $86 million over the next four seasons by New York.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.