New York Yankees

How Alex Rodriguez's Doctor Added Bizarre Chapter to His New York Yankees Career

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice against the Detroit Tigers during game three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 16, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Mike MoraitisAnalyst IJanuary 8, 2013

In what is another bizarre chapter in the career of Alex Rodriguez as a member of the New York Yankees, the controversial slugger may have once again soiled his image while donning the pinstripes.

The Yankees didn't expect to hear much from A-Rod until midseason—with a few injury updates mixed in between—but a recent report by Christian Red of the New York Daily News couldn't make any more noise at a more quiet time in the offseason.

Red's report details how A-Rod's doctor divulged far too much information on the Yankees star's hip injury that he is set to have surgery on.

Here are the details:

In the report, [Dr. Bryan] Kelly - the Hospital for Special Surgery physician who is scheduled to perform Rodriguez's left hip surgery this month – said Rodriguez's left hip muscles "just shut down" during the Yankees' 2012 playoff run, one in which the $275 million third baseman batted .120 (3-for-25) through two playoff rounds and struck out 12 times.

Adding to this unexpected release of information, the same doctor has proclaimed that A-Rod's injury issues over the past few seasons are in no way related to performance-enhancing drug use, which Rodriguez has admitted to using in the past.

Even more surprising, Kelly made a blunt assessment in the report that Rodriguez's hip problems (he had surgery on his right hip in 2009) are unrelated to A-Rod's admitted past use of performance-enhancing drugs. In a 2009 press conference, Rodriguez told reporters he used PEDs from 2001-03, when he played for the Rangers. He is also reported to have tested positive for PEDs in Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing year.

"The easiest question anyone can ask is if this is related to steroid use. I can say with 100 percent certainty this is not a steroid injury at all," Kelly said in the report, referring to Rodriguez's hip injuries. "This is a mechanical injury, and mechanics are something you are born with."

While you might just take the word of Dr. Kelly in regard to A-Rod's injury, two elements in Red's Daily News report directly contradict what the doctor is saying.

The first comes from the beloved "source":

"Kelly was clearly lured in by Alex, who told (Kelly) to talk," said the source. The source added that the team is trying to arrange a conference call or press conference with Kelly and reporters.

"Sources" aren't always the most reliable forms of information, but this "source" has some backing from a different, more reliable source, according to Red's report:

Dr. Lewis Maharam, the past president of the New York chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, told The News that he did not understand how Kelly could be "absolute" in his remarks about PEDs.

"I don't understand how Dr. Kelly can be absolute that steroids didn't cause the injury," said Maharam. "I think without seeing (Rodriguez), that is likely, given his admission of steroid use - that steroid/HGH use caused the hip lesions due the increased strength they produced in surrounding muscle tissues that naturally increase the torque on the hip joint."

Unraveling this mess won't be easy, but that's just another frustrating story in the book of Rodriguez's time in the Bronx.

So, did A-Rod truly put his doctor up to speaking on his behalf? It does seem a bit far-fetched when looked at on the surface, but when digging a little deeper, it certainly looks plausible.

Nobody in Yankees history, and quite possibly the history of sports, has experienced the type of nonstop scrutiny A-Rod has received. Early success in his career and a ginormous contract are obvious contributing factors of this.

So, when Rodriguez struggles to produce or sits long periods of time due to injury, fans and analysts alike jump all over him as being a complete waste and burden on the team, whether directly or indirectly.

It might not seem fair, but it comes with the territory of signing a 10-year, $275 million contract in the Big Apple.

There's nothing A-Rod would love more than to justify his current injuries as nothing more than a "mechanical" issue, as opposed to one that was self-inflicted or exasperated by the use of PEDs. And what better way to do that than to have a prominent doctor confirm such a thought.

But why would the doctor risk his own image just to help A-Rod's? That's where this whole scenario becomes even more cloudy.

Is Rodriguez simply that charming to convince a doctor to possibly stain his own reputation? 

Those are just a few of the questions that Dr. Kelly's comments have birthed.

Whatever the answer may be, this is just another distraction A-Rod has created for the Yankees. Now, general manager Brian Cashman will have to stave off questions from the media about this potential coverup.

Or "Hip-Gate," if you prefer.

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