Outside of his season-long suspension, the last barrier between Alex Rodriguez and a major league field was removed when the Yankees third baseman dropped a lingering lawsuit on Friday, according to Rodriguez's lawyer Alan S. Ripka per ESPN New York.
The lawsuit -- against Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad and New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Medical Center for his alleged misdiagnosis of Rodriguez's hip injury during the 2012 playoffs -- was the third and final lawsuit preventing the three-time MVP from coming back in 2015. Obviously, for himself and the cost of his malpractice insurance, Dr. Ahmad was very happy with the news. His lawyer, Peter T. Crean, said the orthopedic surgeon was especially pleased that the rescinding of the lawsuit would "demonstrate that Dr. Ahmad's care was complete and appropriate."
The other two suits, which involved MLB commissioner Bud Selig, the MLB Players Association, the Yankees and the league, were dropped in February when he saw his suspension reduced from 211 games to 162. And as long has he can play, the Yankees expect him back in the lineup next season.
"He is under contract, so you kind of expect him to be back," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. Girardi seems less confident whether he'll be able to perform anywhere near the level of his massive contract. "Obviously, sitting out a year, as players have seen, is not the easiest thing to do. You have to try to stay as prepared as you can, doing whatever it takes to stay prepared."
According to Ripka, this is all being done to allow Rodriguez to prepare for the 2015 season distraction-free, telling reporters, "[Rodriguez] wants to focus on being the best baseball player he can be, the best Yankee he can be, and wants nothing to distract him from those goals."
And, with this all behind him and three years left on his contract, Rodriguez likely has another few seasons of baseball to look forward to.