A message to the New York Yankees and their fans from Alex Rodriguez: I'm not going anywhere.
"Alex has no plans at all to retire,'' one source with close personal ties to the embattled third baseman told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday.
Another source, authorized by Rodriguez to speak on his behalf, passed this along: "Alex says he's working diligently on his rehabilitation and is looking forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible.''
Although neither of those statements mention Rodriguez returning to the Yankees, with whom he has been at odds since last October's playoffs, he is under contract to the team through 2017, and he is owed $114 million plus a possible $30 million more in incentive bonuses based on reaching career home run milestones.
Since the disclosure this week of the presence of Rodriguez' name in the records of Anthony Bosch, a "nutritionist'' whose Miami anti-aging clinic is suspected of supplying HGH and other performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes, speculation has run rampant that perhaps Rodriguez would never play another game for the Yankees.
One report even went so far as to suggest that Rodriguez might retire from baseball, leaving behind the remaining money on his contract. But the word coming out of Miami, where Rodriguez has been rehabbing since undergoing hip surgery earlier this month, tells a different story indeed.
Both sources paint a picture of a player who, although stung by what he believes is a campaign by the Yankees to rid themselves of his onerous contract, is working hard to return to action sometime after the All-Star break.
When informed of Rodriguez' comments, Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who has avoided commenting publicly on Rodriguez's latest incident, responded with one word: "Good.''
Earlier this week, ESPNewYork.com reported through sources that the Yankees would explore multiple options to void Rodriguez's contract, which was extended for 10 years following his MVP season in 2007.
"(The Yankees are) looking at about 20 different things,'' said a source with knowledge of the team's thinking, although it did not appear that a PED violation would be one of them.
Baseball's collective bargaining agreement gives all power to punish drug offenders to the commissioner's office, and prohibits teams from taking any further action over and above the penalties stipulated in the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
In Rodriguez's case, that would be a 50-game suspension for a first offense, despite his 2009 admission of earlier steroid use, and only if MLB's investigators can establish a legitimate link between Rodriguez and the entries in Bosch's notebook.
That would mean either an admission of wrongdoing, evidence of a prescription written to Rodriguez for an illegal substance, or a sworn affidavit from Bosch that is accepted as fact by an impartial arbiter.
One avenue that appeared open to the club, the possibility that they could penalize Rodriguez, and perhaps even void the rest of his contract, by establishing that his hip injury was the result of PED use. However, that may have been eliminated when Dr. Bryan Kelly, the surgeon who repaired the torn labrum in Rodriguez' left hip, told reporters that the injury was the result of a congenital condition and not drug-related.
However, if Rodriguez were unable to play again due to the injury, the Yankees could recoup a good portion of the money owed him through the insurance policy on his contract.