a-rod doc

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.”

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.