NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — David Cone is about as beloved a former Yankee as there is, so when he suggests that Alex Rodriguez should avoid spring training like the plague, it might not be a bad idea for the disgraced slugger to comply.
Cone, who went 64-40 with a 3.91 ERA and won four World Series rings during his six years in the Bronx, told reporters at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan on Tuesday that A-Rod showing up in Tampa, Fla., would be a nightmare scenario for all involved.
“I would not advise (Rodriguez appearing) at this point, if I had a say in the matter,” said Cone, who is currently an analyst for the YES Network. “I don’t think that’s the best thing to do at this point. Judging from his last comments that he’s looking forward to a year off, maybe he thinks so, too. But it remains to be seen.”
Since learning that his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal was reduced to 162 games plus postseason play by a Major League Baseball arbitrator, Rodriguez has sued MLB and the MLB Players’ Association, as well as said he’s looking forward to his time off.
That kind of unpredictable behavior could mean there’s no telling what he will do once the Yankees get to spring training.
Cone said Rodriguez’s actions of late could be construed as legal wrangling and may not have been indicative of his true intentions, but regardless of what has been said and done, Major League Baseball has suffered because of it.
“I certainly have always been an advocate of the Players Association and I’m an advocate of Alex’s right to defend himself,” Cone said. “I certainly was curious as to how this would play out. I think the fact the Players Association got thrown into the lawsuit was probably more of a legal maneuver by his lawyers than it was Alex sending a message to the Players Association. So in that regard I want to wait and see how things play out. At the same time, the scorched earth policy he and his legal team have taken has really been hard to watch. It’s really been sad.”
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, who was also at the dinner, echoed Cone’s concerns.
“I think it was kind of bad for everybody,” Gardner said. “The players, team, baseball in general, fans, everybody. Hopefully we can put that past us and look forward to a good season.”
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