Updated: MLB investigating Alex Rodriguez’s link with new doctor

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A new player suddenly emerged in the bizarre Alex Rodriguez saga on Wednesday when Dr. Michael L. Gross and told Mike Francesa on WFAN that he had reviewed A-Rod’s MRI and detected no quad injury. In so doing, he contradicted the diagnosis of a Grade 1 quad strain from Yankees doctor Christopher Ahmad.

Reports have since indicated that Rodriguez gave the doctor permission to talk to the media, which has led some to believe that Rodriguez is trying to force the Yankees’ hands and get back into the lineup. Other reports have made it clear that Rodriguez needed Yankees approval to receive a second opinion and never got it, meaning he’s broken a rule from the CBA.

But Gross is a mystery in all this. From the New York Daily News:

According to a source with close knowledge of the situation, however, the Yankees have never heard of Gross, and do not believe Gross examined the same MRI looked at by Ahmad on Sunday after Rodriguez complained for the second straight week of quad tightness.

Further, said the source, New York Presbyterian Hospital did not release results from the MRI it conducted on Rodriguez and the Yankees do not believe he was examined by Gross.

If that’s the case, then perhaps A-Rod didn’t get an official second opinion and is in the clear, at least in that regards.

But what about Gross? He’s listed as a graduate of the New York University School of Medicine and as an orthopedic surgeon for Hackensack UMC. He’s also the the Co-Founder and Medical Director of the Active Center for Health & Wellness, located in Hackensack, New Jersey. According to its website, the top program offered by the place is “Anti-Aging & Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy.”

Gross’s own bio states that he’s “he is currently enrolled in a fellowship in anti-aging and restorative medicine and is working towards board certification form the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.” And the New York Daily News is now reporting that Gross was reprimanded by the New Jersey Attorney General earlier this year for “failing to adequately ensure proper patience treatment involving the prescribing of hormones, including steroids.”

The NYDN further goes on to say that MLB is already investigating A-Rod’s relationship with the doctor.

Gross says the reprimand was the result of an innocent mistake:

“One of the people who worked [at the Active Center for Health & Wellness] was a physician who completed medical school, who finished a residency, but he wasn’t a licensed physician in New Jersey. We never maintained that he was a physician, but in an unrelated investigation of a lot of wellness centers, the board came across that,” Gross said on SNY. “I met with the board. I received what you saw. It’s a closed matter. But it has nothing to do with Alex. I really don’t think it’s germane to this. (Rodriguez) has never been a patient here. He’s never been treated here. We don’t prescribe anabolic steroids. We never have. We prescribe what’s called bio-identical hormones, for men with low testosterone, like what you see on television all the time. We prescribe testosterone.”

MLB won’t like that much, either. One of the things Anthony Bosch was known to offer at Biogenesis were testosterone troches, which are lozenges that were placed under the tongue. Even if Rodriguez has never set foot in the Active Center for Health & Wellness, the association was a bad idea.

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Update: Yankees GM Brian Cashman has issued a statement on the Rodriguez situation. Here it is in full:

“I heard via a text message this afternoon from Alex Rodriguez that he had retained a doctor to review his medical situation. In media reports, we have since learned that the doctor in question has acknowledged that he did not examine Mr. Rodriguez and that he was not retained to do a comprehensive medical examination of Mr. Rodriguez. Contrary to the Basic Agreement, Mr. Rodriguez did not notify us at any time that he was seeking a second opinion from any doctor with regard to his quad strain.

“As you know, it is the Yankees’ desire to have Alex return to the lineup as soon as possible. And we have done everything to try and accomplish this.

“As early as Friday, July 12, when I suggested to Alex that we move his rehab from Tampa to Triple-A Scranton (at Buffalo), Alex complained for the first time of “tightness” in his quad and therefore refused to consent to the transfer of his assignment. Again, last Sunday, Alex advised that he had stiffness in his quad and should not play on Sunday or Monday. We sent Alex to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI which evidenced a Grade 1 strain.

“As always, we will follow the rules and regulations set forth in the Basic Agreement, and will again re-evaluate Alex in Tampa tomorrow, as our goal is to return him to the lineup as soon as he is medically capable of doing so.”

Cincinnati Reds fire Bryan Price

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price. He’ll be replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Riggleman. The team also fired pitching coach Mack Jenkins. The club also added Louisville manager Pat Kelly to the staff as the new bench coach and Double-A pitching coach Danny Darwin as the new big league pitching coach.

It was only a matter of time for Price, whose Reds have begun the season 3-15. This was Price’s fifth season at the helm and the Reds never won more than 76 games in any of his previous seasons, doing so in his first year, in 2014. They won 68 games in both 2016 and 2017 and 64 games in 2015. While that’s far more attributable to the Reds talent level than anything Price ever did or did not do, at some point the manager will take the fall for a team that makes no progress.

Price’s tenure will likely be considered largely forgettable in the view of history, but he did have a pretty memorable moment as Reds manager in April of 2015, when he went on a profanity-laced tirade at the media because they reported the availability or lack thereof of certain players for an upcoming game. Which is part of the media’s job, even if Price didn’t fully grok that at the time. The tirade itself was pretty epic, though, with then Cincinnati Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans reporting that “there were 77 uses of the “F” word or a variant and 11 uses of a vulgar term for feces (two bovine, one equine).” 

Taking over will be Jim Riggleman, who last managed in the big leagues with the Washington Nationals, resigning in June of 2011 because he was unhappy that he did not get a contract extension. It was a weird episode, the sort of which a lot of guys couldn’t have come back from, perhaps being considered quitters. Riggleman took a job managing the Reds’ Double-A team, however, then moved on to Triple-A and then the Reds’ big league coaching staff. There’s something to be said for persistence. And for being a big league lifer.

Anyway, Price’s exit is not likely to change the Reds’ course too much in 2018. But, as it is so often said in baseball, sometimes you gotta make a change all the same.