Alex Rodriguez is ready to play and ready to put up a fight. He certainly doesn't see the next games possibly being his last with the threat of a lifetime ban or a lengthy suspension from major league baseball over his head. The much-maligned 14-time All-Star who has 647 career home runs hit a two-run homer for the Class AA Trenton Thunder over five innings of play in a 6-2 victory over the Reading Fightin Phils during the first of two rehabilitation games Friday night. Rodriguez who spent the week at the New York Yankees' minor league complex and previously played in a 13-game 20-day rehabilitation assignment admittedly feels ready to step on the field Monday in Chicago barring a suspension. "I feel like I am ready to go right now" said Rodriguez. However Rodriguez believes there are forces conspiring against him from ever stepping on the field again. USA TODAY Sports reported earlier Friday that it is still not apparent that Rodriguez and his team of attorneys will soften their stance of no negotiations with Major League Baseball over potential penalties stemming from the Biogenesis case. "There are a lot of layers to it" Rodriguez said. "My job is to be able to take the field. As far as the legal stuff I can't answer that. There are a lot of fans and teammates wondering and asking what is going on. "There is more than one party that benefits from me not stepping on the field. It is not my teammates it is not the Yankees. People have been trying to get creative trying to cancel my contract." When asked who the party was Rodriguez said "What do you think?" A-Rod also responded with the same answer when asked if he was being singled out by Major League Baseball. MLB has given the Yankees star a choice according to a baseball official familiar with their intentions: accept a suspension through the 2014 season or face a lifetime ban. The official was unauthorized to speak publicly about the situation since the talks are private. Other players involved are expected to draw suspensions of 50 games. For Rodriguez a 2014 ban would result in a 217-game penalty — if implemented Friday — and a loss of $34.5 million in salary. Rodriguez would still be due $61 million from 2015-2017 as well as a possible $30 million in bonuses — if he averts a lifetime suspension. Rodriguez said he spoke to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman earlier in the day and Cashman stated that he will play with Trenton Saturday night and then have a short workout before Sunday's game. He plans to rejoin the team in Chicago Monday. "Absolutely" said Rodriguez in response to a question about rejoining the team Monday. "That is the tentative plan if everything goes well. I'm excited because I think I can help the team. My body is beginning to react the right way. "I think I'll be better in six months. I think I'll be better in 12 months. But I do like the way the ball is jumping off my bat. I also like the way I am throwing the ball. That's the perfect example of me hitting and throwing a ball in July August and September.
A-Rod set to return unless 'struck by lightning'
USA Today | Aug 3