Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Alex Arrives Humble and 3 Days Early

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Alex Arrives Humble and 3 Days Early

Article excerpt

TAMPA, Fla. - Alex Rodriguez can't blame the whole, wide baseball world for any hard feelings about his steroid use, his litany of lies, or his shabby dealings with the Yankees, their fans, MLB or the players' association.

He's just here to earn a job.

"I made a mistake. I served a big penalty personally and professionally. And now all my focus is on 2015 and trying to make this team," Rodriguez said on Monday as he re-entered a different Yankees Universe following his 2014 suspension by the commissioner's office.

A-Rod's third base position belongs to Chase Headley and there are plenty of designated hitter candidates in camp.

But Rodriguez insists he's excited and ready for the new challenge, already painting himself and the Yankees as feisty underdogs.

"Everyone's counting us out already. And that's the first time that's been the case since I've been here in '04," Rodriguez said. "So that part is kind of fun."

Three days ahead of the Yankees' first official full squad workout, a contrite but smiling Rodriguez arrived at Steinbrenner Field for his physical. By early afternoon, A-Rod moved to the minor league complex to take grounders and batting practice - his first on- field work in a Yankees uniform since the 2013 season.

Following his one-hour field session, Rodriguez stepped out of the white Chevy Suburban he was driving and signed autographs for an orderly group of about 25 fans waiting on the sidewalk.

After engaging the fans in small talk and hearing them offer encouraging words, Rodriguez said there wasn't enough time to go over his litany of regrets, such as suing the Yankees team physician, the players' association and MLB.

"I cringe sometimes when I look at some of the things I did," A- Rod said. "I'm grateful that I have another opportunity."

During Rodriguez's first public discussion with the media since he issued a handwritten letter of apology last week for conduct related to his involvement in steroids and the Biogenesis scandal, A- Rod said he benefited physically from the time off after two hip surgeries since 2009. …

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