Via Jon Heyman -
Top Yankees officials are apparently giving Alex Rodriguez a pass on his latest appearance in the tabloids, but they were annoyed and concerned enough about his extracurricular activities and a spate of often unflattering celebrity news stories that top team executives — including owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner — staged serious discussions with the superstar slugger in recent weeks about toning down his off-field act and focusing entirely on his well-known drive to be baseball’s best player, according to people familiar with those talks.
While Yankees people generally seem to remain concerned about Rodriguez’s inability to stay out of the gossip pages, they appear to not be overreacting to the latest A-Rod news — which includes a narcissistic magazine photo spread and a Manhattan madam’s claims to a tabloid that she received personal emails from Rodriguez and subsequently dated him — since both developments appear to have occurred before the team’s most serious talks with Rodriguez, even if they didn’t become public until later. Thus the new revelations haven’t spurred any new lectures from his Yankee bosses.
Club officials have even referred to the alleged episode involving the madam as being “part of his past” and reflective of a difficult personal situation at the time. Rodriguez and his wife of five years, Cynthia, who have two young daughters, divorced last year.
The most serious of the heart-to-heart talks occurred right after Sports Illustrated reported on Feb. 7 that Rodriguez was one of 104 players to have failed baseball’s 2003 survey test, as club officials used the steroid revelation as a platform to discuss avoidance of all controversy. That message was strongly reinforced again by top Yankees executives after A-Rod was rather indiscreetly picked up by cousin Yuri Sucart following a spring training game only days after Rodriguez named Sucart as the one who helped procure the steroids for him.
The Yankees’ message was, “Put all the distractions behind you.” And Rodriguez agreed, according to people familiar with those discussions.
“Clearly, you don’t want any controversies on or of the field,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “As to whether I talked to Alex specifically, I’ll just keep that private and in-house in the best interests of the club.”
Somehow, I don’t think this is going to work…