BASEBALL-YANKEES-RODRIGUEZ:A-Rod '100 percent' after special treatment in Germany
REUTERS - New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez made a successful trip to Germany this month to have experimental treatment on his right knee and left shoulder, the Major League Baseball team said on Wednesday.
Following a recommendation by Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant, the Yankees gave Rodriguez approval to have an Orthokine procedure, where blood is taken from a vein in the arm and spun in a centrifuge to isolate protective proteins.
"Kobe had maintained, according to Alex, that he felt significantly better because of it," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on a conference call.
"Alex was interested in pursuing it as long as the Yankees' medical staff was comfortable with it and vetted the process. He basically asked us to look into it.
"I think he's 100 percent right now, personally," Cashman added. "Hopefully going forward he'll be healthy for us again, because when he is healthy he's obviously one of the best players in the game."
Rodriguez, who had arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome right knee in July, underwent the experimental procedure with Dr. Peter Wehling during a December 5-9 trip to Dusseldorf.
"Ultimately, Kobe Bryant went with this individual in Germany," Cashman said. "The more our doctor researched on it, the more impressed he was with this guy's credentials and his reputation.
"Obviously, Alex is our biggest investment, so we agreed to allow him the extra miles to have it done in Germany."
All-Star third baseman Rodriguez played in 99 games last season, hitting 16 home runs and 62 RBIs, but noticeably lacked his customary slugging power in the latter part of the season.
"Maybe this is an avenue that helps maintain his health," Cashman said. "There's clearly a belief system that this type of treatment is beneficial, and if it is, it was time well spent. If it isn't, nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Cashman said the Orthokine procedure was backed by MLB and was in compliance with the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Julian Linden; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)