UNCASVILLE, Conn. - Alex Rodriguez reached out to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Thursday and requested a meeting with team brass before spring training opens.
Cashman said yes.
"He just said, 'Hey, wondered if you guys would have an interest in giving us an opportunity to meet sometime between now and spring training,' " Cashman said on Friday. "I said, 'OK, no problem.' That was it."
Of course, because this is Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees, it's never that simple. A-Rod called with one of his lawyers, Cashman said, and the general manager covered himself by having assistant general manager Jean Afterman on the line.
The Yankees have been wary of conversations with Rodriguez because of the legal and public relations battles that surrounded his season-long suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
Now, with the suspension over and Rodriguez ready to rejoin the team, Cashman is willing to have a meeting that presumably will be more about mending fences than whether he can hit balls over them anymore.
"The bottom line is he is an active member of our team and he has asked to meet with the general manager and with us and so therefore at some point we will," Cashman said.
Asked if ownership would be part of the meeting, Cashman said, "I couldn't say."
Asked if he thinks the meeting is necessary, Cashman said: "It's not my meeting. But I think it can't hurt . . . There's no reason we shouldn't do that. So at some date in the future here, we will."
Cashman spoke about A-Rod before an appearance at the Connecticut Sports Foundation Against Cancer annual dinner at the Mohegan Sun Casino. He is fully aware that the circus will come to Tampa when Rodriguez reports. He also is prepared to deal with it and expects the rest of the organization to do so, too.
"Whatever it is . . . players, managers, coaches, ownership, we'll all do the best we possibly can to navigate it," he said.
Cashman denied a recent report that Rodriguez, who met with then-commissioner-elect Rob Manfred last month, had been rebuffed when he asked to meet with the Yankees at the same time.
"I know that there had recently been this stuff wrapped around the meeting he apparently had with the commissioner that he had also asked us," Cashman said. "But that wasn't the case . . . There's been no recent request until [Thursday].''
As for baseball . . . Rodriguez's old job at third base has been given to Chase Headley. If healthy, Rodriguez will have to fight for at-bats as a designated hitter while giving manager Joe Girardi a backup option at third and maybe first.
"If he can play third, it gives another arrow in Joe's quiver to shoot," Cashman said. "If he can be a productive bat, it gives us another arrow in the quiver to shoot. We need all of our guys to operate to their full potential. Alex's full potential is we don't know at this time."
Notes & quotes: Cashman on the Yankees' interest in Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, a free agent: "We've certainly scouted him and I would say no more than that." . . . Cashman predicted a bounce-back season from Mark Teixeira: "I expect Mark to actually pleasantly surprise a lot of people that he's capable of being the player we're used to seeing: a switch hitter with great defense and power and plate discipline. I think you're going to see that player. I do."