A-Rod set to play in simulated game

Alex Rodriguez will play in a simulated game Thursday in Tampa and is expected to begin a rehab assignment Friday, the latest development in the embattled slugger's attempt to return to the New York Yankees.

General manager Brian Cashman announced the plan Wednesday, but he would not specify where the third baseman will play Friday.

"We have a schedule and we'll be checking the weather," Cashman said. "We don't want to say yet."

Rodriguez, 38, has been sidelined by a strained quad since July 21. The three-time American League MVP had been on the verge of making his season debut with the Yankees following a lengthy rehab from offseason hip surgery.

Despite the quad strain, which was diagnosed by Yankees team doctors, Rodriguez had insisted that he was healthy enough to play and sought a second medical opinion from his own physician, sparking a controversy that ultimately was resolved last week.

Cashman also would not comment on Major League Baseball's reported pending punishment of Rodriguez, who is expected to receive a lengthy suspension for his role in the Biogenesis case.

ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has reported that Rodriguez and as many as 20 other players are expected to be suspended for their relationship to Anthony Bosch, the founder of the now-closed Biogenesis anti-aging clinic that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to the players.

According to The Associated Press, Major League Baseball told the union which players will be suspended, and the penalties could be announced Friday.

Rodriguez plans to fight any suspension or banishment from baseball through the appeals process, according to his lawyer.

However, MLB may try to suspend Rodriguez under its collective bargaining agreement instead of its drug-testing policy, according to The Associated Press. If MLB goes ahead with the suspension under the labor deal, Rodriguez would lose virtually any chance of delaying the penalty while he appeals the case.

Cashman also addressed the Yankees' inactivity leading up to Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline. New York acquired outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs last week but did not make any other moves to bolster its injury-depleted roster.

"We had a lot of conversations with a lot of organizations," Cashman said. "But we didn't get anything that would lead us to deal."

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews, Andrew Marchand and Ian Begley, and The Associated Press was used in this report.