SARASOTA, FL – Media here were abuzz after the Yankees replaced Alex Rodriguez in the fifth inning of an early-spring-training game on Sunday. Rodriguez declined to speak to the media as he got in a car with teammates Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira and left the Reds’ complex. However, he did say he would be at the Dominican Republic team HQ in Jupiter, FL later that day for World Baseball Classic preparations. “Opportunity of a lifetime playing in the WBC. I’m excited about that,” he told reporters.
The move fueled speculation that Rodriguez was on his way to a meeting with MLB officials who had known about the steroid test result since 2003. However, there was no report on whether Cano and Teixeira, also replaced during Sunday’s game, were accompanying him for moral support at the meeting or because A-Rod qualified for the ragtop Mustang upgrade at Hertz.
The press has been on A-Rod watch since an illegal leak selectively revealed the game’s highest-salaried player tested positive for steroids six years ago. “Well, it does take time to have dinner and get from Sarasota to Jupiter by car,” said one reporter before deciding, “Nahhhh.”