This is either a good thing or a bad thing for the Yankees depending on who you ask: third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been cleared by Yankees doctors, and will be able to play in rehab games starting on July 1st, according to the New York Daily News.
Rodriguez has been embroiled in the Biogenesis scandal all winter, which has taken much of the focus off of his offseason hip surgery. After the surgery, initial reports had Rodriguez potentially returning around the All-Star Break, and here we are.
Ignoring all of the drama surrounding Rodriguez's link with the clinic and Anthony Bosch, his return could be a nice boost for a Yankees offense that has just a .604 OPS in June while dealing with injuries to Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis, who was signed this winter to serve almost as a bridge to Rodriguez at third base while A-Rod was rehabbing, has played in just 28 games this season while dealing with a litany of back problems, and might not play again this season until September.
However, it's yet to be seen if Rodriguez will be able to play third base on an every day basis while recovering from his hip surgery. During his rehab in Tampa, Rodriguez has been running, throwing, fielding, and hitting, so it's not as if he's just swinging off of a tee. Aside from Youkilis, Jayson Nix and David Adams have gotten the bulk of playing time at the hot corner for New York, and neither has hit well at all. Even a recovering and potentially still hobbled A-Rod would be an upgrade offensively over either of those players, yet I have a feeling that if he were called up after the All-Star Break, Rodriguez would still only end up playing in about 40 to 50% of the games at third while spending the rest of the time serving as the Bronx Bombers' DH. Travis Hafner has mainly served in the role for the Yankees this year, and while his performance started hot, it's tailed off over the last two months to the point where, like at third base, Rodriguez would be an upgrade.