a-rod doc

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


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.


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.”

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.