The New York Yankees are paying Alex Rodriguez $275 million to play baseball, not talk about it.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made that point clear on Tuesday, angrily responding to the news that Rodriguez was tweeting, unfettered, about his recovery from hip surgery by saying that, "Alex should just shut the f--k up."
On Tuesday, Rodriguez used his Twitter account to announce he'd been cleared to return to normal baseball activities. Rodriguez has yet to play a game for the Yankees this year after undergoing hip surgery in the offseason.
Cashman, however, immediately squelched the notion that Rodriguez would soon be back with the pro team.
"You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, [we will]," he told ESPN New York. "Alex should just shut the f--k up. That's it. I'm going to call Alex now."
One day earlier, Cashman shot down a report that Rodriguez had already been cleared to play.
"He has not been cleared by our doctors to play in rehab games yet," Cashman said. "He's getting closer. There's no doubt about it. But we don't have a date for him to start playing games yet. It could be July 1. It could also be July 5 or maybe June 25."
After being publicly chastised, Rodriguez walked back his exuberant tweet, saying in a statement, "I will continue to work hard until my efforts get me back in pinstripes and help my team win. The tweet was pure excitement about Dr. Kelly's prognosis."
The flap is just the latest example of the strained relationship between the Yankees and their former star player who, by the way, is the owner of the two most expensive contracts in sports history.
Last October, Rodriguez floundered in the playoffs, drawing boos from New York fans and getting benched for part of the American League Championship Series. After being yanked partway through game one of that series, he responded by flirting with fans, drawing a rebuke from team management.
Then this year, Rodriguez was named on a list of players who allegedly received performance enhancing drugs, in violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy, from a Florida health clinic, Biogenesis. The Yankees reportedly looked into whether they could cut Rodriguez and the $86 million left on his contract should that allegation prove true.
Even if the Yankees don't dump him, MLB is considering slapping him and others tied to Biogenesis with unprecedented 100-game suspensions.
Cashman, in a moment of candor, said earlier this month that A-Rod would probably never live up to his enormous contract. The Yankees signed Rodriguez in 2008 to a 10-year, $275 million deal — after Rodriguez opted out of his previous 10-year, $252 million contract.
In acknowledging that fact, Cashman confirmed what Rodriguez's peers have believed for a long time: that Rodriguez is the most overrated player in baseball.