After a successful rehab stint down in Scranton, Alex Rodriguez is back with the Yankees and eying a return to the big league club this weekend. Before he rushes into anything, the team should pump the brakes on the return of their star third baseman.
Rodriguez himself voiced some concerns about his play. Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com passed along the following quote from Rodriguez after a recent rehab appearance:
"The one thing that I'm lacking the most is first-step quickness and defense, and opening up my gait and really trying to make good turns going home to second or first to third," he said.
In a world where players are generally mum on concerns over their health, the fact that A-Rod would so openly question his readiness means that there is some apprehension there.
If that is indeed the case, the Yankees have to sit him down for a while longer. The fact of the matter is that the Yankees don't really need him.
They are half a game up on the Red Sox in the American League East and if they were to switch places in the standings with the Sox today, they would still be 8.5 games up in the Wild Card standings.They are in no danger of missing out on the postseason.
They've also gotten good play out of his replacements. Eric Chavez is hitting .276 and Eduardo Nunez is hitting .266 with 18 steals.
Don't overlook A-Rod's illegal poker game controversy in this either. He publicly says that it's all a big misunderstanding and that he isn't worried about it, but you have to wonder if that's completely true. If he has any concerns over what might come out of that investigation, he needs to sit until he has his mind right. If you think playing Major League Baseball is tough on a normal day, imagine doing it while you have your mind on an ongoing investigation that has to do with you.
There is just so little to be gained by bringing him back this weekend. The Yankees are playing well without him and what you don't want is a re-aggravated injury that forces their star to miss more significant time.