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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reportedly rushing back to guarantee salary

06.27.13 at 8:05 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Indians at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB)
NBA: Draft, 7:30 p.m. (ESON: WEEI-AM)
Soccer: U-20 World Cup, Ghana vs. United States, 12:45 p.m. (ESPNU)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

♦ The Yankees claim their dispute with Alex Rodriguez has been cleared up, but there are indications that there may be far more going on behind the scenes — mainly, the team trying to recoup some money by keeping A-Rod on the shelf, and the player rushing his return in order to get all his money before a possible MLB suspension for his latest performance-enhancing drug issue.

General manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that he regrets his angry public response to Rodriguez tweeting an update on his recovery from his hip problem. Cashman was perturbed when Rodriguez tweeted that he had been cleared by his doctor, as the Yankees had been insisting he had not been given the official OK to return, and Cashman told ESPN, “Alex should just shut the [expletive] up.”

Team owner Hal Steinbrenner spoke with A-Rod on Wednesday in Tampa and reminded the player that the organization will handle injury updates. Rodriguez, who said he tweeted out of “pure excitement,” then called Cashman and team president Randy Levine and had a 30-minute discussion about team protocol.

“It was a constructive, healthy conversation. Everybody is on the same page and we’re all going to communicate and work together to get Alex back as quickly as possible,” team spokesman Jason Zillo said. “They’re all back on track.”

However, the New York Daily News has a report speculating that Rodriguez is rushing his return for financial reasons. The Daily News quotes a source as saying A-Rod will start playing in rehab games and then claim he he is physically unable to perform due to his hip injury and retire so that he can collect the remaining $144 million on his contract that runs for the next five years.

According to the report, a player who retires because he is physically unable to perform, even if later suspended, would be paid in full.

“It’s all about him getting his money and not losing it to suspension,” the source told the Daily News. “He knows he’s never going to the Hall of Fame. All that’s left for him is to make sure he gets his money — all of it.”

ESPN reports that Rodriguez is convinced the Yankees are intentionally slowing his return so they can have him declared medically unfit to play this season. That would allow the team to collect 80 percent of the $28 million due to him this season through insurance.

“Alex thinks there’s something really off about this situation,” a source told ESPN. “Here we have a doctor declaring him fit to play. You would think they would be happy about that.”

♦ In other Yankees news, the team announced Wednesday that first baseman Mark Teixeira will have season-ending surgery on his right wrist after it was determined that the torn sheath had not properly healed.

Teixeira, who injured the wrist hitting of a tee while warming up for the World Baseball Classic in March, is projected to need six months to recover from the surgery.

“It’s very tough, especially in a season where the team could probably use me,” Teixeira said. “I really would’ve loved to be part of hopefully what’s a playoff run, but when you realize that it’s not going to happen it’s really difficult.”

Teixeira finishes the season with a .151 batting average, .270 on-base percentage, .340 slugging percentage, three home runs and 12 RBIs in 53 at-bats over 15 games.

Larry Bird is rejoining the Pacers front office after a year away from the team. Bird will be reintroduced Thursday morning as the club’s president of basketball operations.

Bird had served in that capacity from 2003-12, winning NBA Executive of the Year honors in 2011.

“The year off gave me a chance to reflect, to rest, to take care of some health issues, and it recharged me,” Bird said in a statement from the team.

Said team owner Herb Simon: “We are all very happy to have Larry back. Larry had a huge impact on this team and where it is now, so it’s fitting that he comes back at this time. Donnie [Walsh, who took over for Bird] has been a friend and a valuable contributor to the franchise and will continue to be both. I wanted him to agree to stay in some capacity as I believe with Larry and Kevin [Pritchard, GM], it gives us three of the best basketball minds in the business.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 27, 2003, which Red Sox player tied a major league record by recording three hits (single, double, triple) in one inning — the 14-run first inning of a 25-8 rout of the Marlins at Fenway?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.” – The Patriots, in a statement announcing the release of tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was charged with murder

STAT OF THE DAY: 12 – Strikeouts for Red Sox starter John Lackey in Wednesday’s 5-3 victory over the Rockies, his first double-digit strikeout game since Oct. 3, 2010 (and he had no walks)

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): University of Oklahoma softball star Lauren Chamberlain hits random objects for home runs.

Rising high school senior Christian Terrell, a 6-foot-2 guard from Jacksonville, Fla., throws down an impressive dunk during a summer league game.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Johnny Damon

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Leigh Nash, lead singer of Sixpence None the Richer, was born on this day in 1976.

Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Larry Bird, Mark Teixeira