The New York Yankees confirmed this week that Alex Rodriguez did have an experimental procedure on his right leg in Germany. This was the same procedure which was used on Los Angeles Laker star Kobe Bryant.
A-Rod had one of his worst seasons last year statistically appearing in only 99 games and having a .276 batting average. This was way below his 130 plus games and .300 average. Rodriguez never was healthy through out the season battling through knee, hand and shoulder injuries which limited his at bats.
The Bombers need a healthy Rodriguez in the middle of the line up to drive in runs and present some fear for opposing pitchers. A-Rod had vowed to be completely healthy for the upcoming season and would do everything in his power to achieve that goal. Enter good friend Kobe, who suggested to Alex about some experimental treatments he had in Germany.
A-Rod traveled to Germany this month with the blessing of the Yankees and permission from Major League Baseball to visit Dr. Peter Wehling. The first week in December A-Rod went to Dusseldorf, Germany to get the Orthokine procedure for his ailing right knee and ankle. General manager Brian Cashman confirmed the visit to beat reporters in a conference call.
Bryant has praised Dr. Wehling and the procedure for having him stay healthy and getting him back into action on the basketball court. Rodriguez decided it couldn't hurt to try and see if this procedure could help the aging star stay off the DL.
"Kobe had maintained, according to Alex, that he felt significantly better because of it," Cashman told reporters. "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."
In November Rodriguez contacted the Yankees explaining what he would like to do, so the Yankees' team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad researched Dr. Wehling and the procedure. Ahmad was very impressed with what he found out and also contacted the Los Angeles Lakers medical staff for their input.
"Ultimately, Kobe Bryant went with this individual in Germany," Cashman said to MLB.com. "The more our doctor researched 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."
The Orthokine procedure takes blood from the patient's arm vein and is incubated at 37 degrees Celsius then spun in a centrifuge to isolate proteins. The ensuing solution is then injected back into the patient's problem area once or twice a week. Rodriguez had the injections back into his knee and shoulder. The procedure is suppose to have a pain reducing and anti-inflammatory effect, which includes protection of the delicate cartilage areas. Since it is experimental the long term effects are still not known.
The procedure falls in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations and was run through MLB for approval.
Rodriguez will continue with his off season training regime, which will include a visit from Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long next week in Miami.
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