03/01/09 9:18 AM EST
A-Rod's MLB meeting may be on hold
Slugger currently batting cleanup in lineup against Reds on Sunday
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
A meeting that had reportedly been set for Rodriguez to meet with Major League Baseball officials may be in jeopardy, as A-Rod is currently in the lineup batting cleanup for an exhibition contest against the Cincinnati Reds at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla.
"I should be, unless I hear otherwise," Rodriguez said. "I'm on the road trip -- 9 o'clock bus."
Rodriguez has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his three seasons with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. MLB intends to speak with Rodriguez about security issues and his past involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, a meeting that will likely take place in Tampa.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Rodriguez is looking to push the date of the meeting back. Sunday was to be Rodriguez's final game with the Yankees before he reports to the Dominican Republic squad for the World Baseball Classic.
"I think that Alex is hoping that it's possibly not tomorrow, a later date," Girardi said. "He talked to me a little bit today about it, that he's hoping it's not tomorrow."
Rodriguez's name remained circled on a travel roster posted in the Yankees' clubhouse, and Girardi said he was weighing whether to use Rodriguez at third base or as a designated hitter -- not considering the idea that Rodriguez would be absent.
But Girardi could not be 100 percent certain that Rodriguez -- 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly in Saturday's 7-3 loss to the Twins -- would be in uniform for the first pitch on Sunday.
"I'm sure if they made him meet at 1 o'clock, I guess there'd be a chance," Girardi said. "Right now, I'm expecting him to be able to play."
Though the meeting is intended to be non-disciplinary in nature, The Associated Press reported that Rodriguez will be accompanied by a personal lawyer and representative from the MLB Players Association.
The New York Times reported on its Web site early Sunday morming that Rodriguez will be interviewed by Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's executive VP of labor relations & human resources, and members of MLB's department of investigations.
According to The Times, the officials want to know who provided Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs and whether that person had access to Major League clubhouses.
Officials also want to know about Rodriguez's relationships with Angel Presinal, a trainer banned from big league clubhouses, and with his cousin, Yuri Sucart. A-Rod said Sucart repeatedly injected him with a banned substance that was brought into the United States from the Dominican Republic.
Sucart was spotted after an exhibition game on Wednesday in Dunedin, Fla., picking up Rodriguez in a burgundy sport utility vehicle. After that incident, the Yankees informed Rodriguez that Sucart was no longer welcome at ballparks during Spring Training and the regular season.
Rodriguez said that his plan is to play in the game on Sunday and then drive across the state with Dominican Republic teammates Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte to Jupiter, Fla., where the club is setting up camp for the Classic. He said that leaving Yankees camp for the tournament would be a nice break.
"It's a lot more intense than Spring Training, I will say that," Rodriguez said. "As far as baseball, anytime there's international play -- it's kind of like NCAA basketball, a double-elimination bracket -- the intensity obviously gets up to a level that's probably a little bit higher than the Major Leagues."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.