Newspaper article International New York Times

Cue Repeat: Rodriguez Apologizes ; Suspension over, Yankee Says Nothing He Has Done Could Be Justified

Newspaper article International New York Times

Cue Repeat: Rodriguez Apologizes ; Suspension over, Yankee Says Nothing He Has Done Could Be Justified

Article excerpt

Alex Rodriguez showed up early to spring training with the Yankees and held a news conference, saying there was no justifying what he had done.

Not for the first time in his career, Alex Rodriguez spent part of his first day of spring training fielding questions from reporters about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The last time was in February 2009, at a formal news conference at the Yankees' complex, with scores of news media members on hand and teammates like Derek Jeter there to support him.

On Monday, six years later, Rodriguez faced the reporters alone. Dressed in a green University of Miami warm-up suit, he leaned casually against a fence on a sidewalk next to the team's minor league complex as people in passing cars gawked at the spectacle.

Rodriguez, making his first unscripted comments to a group of reporters since he began serving a season-long suspension last April, said that nothing he had done could be justified or explained and that he recognized the morass he had put himself in.

"I cringe sometimes when I look at some of the things I did," he said. "But I paid my penalty, and I'm grateful that I have another opportunity."

Rodriguez, 39, did not specify what his mistakes were, but presumably he was referring to Major League Baseball's allegations, stemming from its investigation of the now-defunct South Florida clinic Biogenesis of America, that he had used P.E.D.s, which resulted in his suspension for all of last season.

Rodriguez could also have been referring to his often combative strategy to overturn his suspension, which included numerous lawsuits, all of them subsequently withdrawn, and attacks by his lawyers and others acting on his behalf against members of the Yankees, Major League Baseball and the players' union.

"I created a big headache for a lot of people," Rodriguez said, "so I don't blame whoever is mad at me. I understand."

Rodriguez's arrival at camp Monday morning, his first appearance at a Yankees baseball activity since the team's final game of the 2013 season, came unexpectedly: Position players are not required to report until Wednesday. Rodriguez took a physical exam and then drove to the minor league complex to work out. …

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