NEW YORK (WFAN) — Alex Rodriguez joined WFAN radio host Mike Francesa on Wednesday to talk about his rehab and a little about baseball’s Biogenesis scandal.
Oh, and A-Rod announced that he plans on being in the Yankees lineup on Monday.
Here’s a full transcript of the 10-minute talk:
Mike: “I appreciate a couple minutes. How are you doing?”
A-Rod: “I’m on the road with the minor leaguers and having a good time doing it.”
Mike: “There is so much chatting and speculation about what kind of shape you’re in, how your schedule’s going. Let’s hear it from you. How are things going, what kind of shape are you in?”
A-Rod: “I think I’m getting in better shape. I think we are par for the course. Like we said about six months ago, Mike, we knew this was going to be a long, challenging process, and like I told our New York beat guys that were down with me in Charleston, it’s going to take 10 to 12 games to get in a position to start driving the ball and seeing the rotation getting some better times to first base and doing all the things you need to do to get in baseball playing shape, which is totally different than any other type of shape.”
Mike: “Playing back-to-back days, do you feel it, or is it okay? Can you continue to play now back-to-back days? Does it feel OK?”
A-Rod: “Yeah it actually feels good. I played four games in a row, that’s the first time I’ve done that. I had a workout this morning around 9:30 a.m., felt pretty good. And I’m going to go play four (games) in Scranton, and then hopefully we strap it up.”
Mike: “You’ve played forever, and you know this better than anybody. Could you, today, go play a Major League Baseball game tonight if you had to? Are you in good enough shape right now to play a major league game?
A-Rod: “I think I would feel more comfortable after these four games, Mike. The one thing is, it’s been a long process, you can’t take any shortcuts. I think it would be very smart to use the 20 days. Can you play one game? The answer is probably yes, but I’m not looking to play just one game. I’m looking to come back and be a force in the middle of the lineup and help us win. I’m looking at the long haul.”
Mike: “What part is the part you’re most concerned about? What part of your game is coming the slowest?”
A-Rod: “I think lateral movement is probably the most challenging part, especially because it’s the hip and moving to your left is something that concerns me a little bit. But I think over the last few nights I’ve made some plays where I’ve had to reach far to my left, I’ve come in on a couple slow ground balls. But I would say defensively, and more specifically, probably moving to my left.
Mike: “The date that’s been put out there is next Monday. Do you think you’ll be able to rejoin the Yanks next Monday?”
A-Rod: “Yeah. So far so good. We made out a schedule going back to January when I had surgery, and we’ve been pretty much dialed in to that schedule on-point. And then we had the 20-day schedule, and with the exception of maybe a rainout or two, I think that’s been on-point as well. So we’re good to go. If we have a good weekend, I will be in Texas.”
Mike: “Do you feel like yourself? We know you were hurt late last year, and we learned that and we watched it unfold. Do you feel like yourself now?”
A-Rod: “I think I’m getting closer, Mike. I hit a ball yesterday and it was about a 93 or 94 mph fastball from a left-handed pitcher and I was able to drive it over the left-center field wall. And that’s something that I know for sure I couldn’t do in August, September or October (last) year, and by the way, I couldn’t even do that last week. So the progression is coming very well, and even last night I went 0-for-3 but I drove three balls to the outfield and drove in a run. For me, Mike, getting the ball in the air, getting the ball to center field and right-center field, it’s a good sign for me.
Mike: “How are things with you and the Yankees? Are you guys on the same page right now?”
A-Rod: “I think over the last several weeks we’ve had good communication. We’ve had productive conversations. I think we all have the same goal to get back on the field, help the team win, and make a run out of this thing. I think the team has done a phenomenal job of keeping us right in the race. And the good news for us, Mike, is hopefully the captain (Derek Jeter) and I come back at the similar times, and then we have three or four players behind us, and before you know it hopefully we have our full lineup in there and we can help the guys who have been doing a great job up to date.”
Mike: “When you see reports, ‘A-Rod’s never going to play baseball again. A-Rod’s never going to do this again, he’s never going to do that again,’ what’s your reaction?”
A-Rod: “For one, it fuels me. There’s always going to be that, but my goal has never changed. My goal is the same it was 20 years, as it was 10 years ago, five years ago as it is today: to get back on the field and give it my best. And that’s what I plan on doing.”
Mike: “What can you tell me about all these reports about your reps and baseball? Did you give your reps any marching orders to make any deals with anybody?”
A-Rod: “No, that’s not true. You heard (union head) Michael (Weiner) speak over the All-Star break. At this moment that’s all we can really discuss on the matter.”
Mike: “So there’s no deals, right?”
A-Rod: “There’s no deal that I’ve instructed anyone to do at this point.”
Mike: “And you expect to be back with the Yankees on Monday?”
A-Rod: “I’m very excited. And yes.”
Mike: “Is there anything that’s worrying you physically … or do you think it’s all systems go?”
A-Rod: “I think the most concerning thing is I’m 38. I’m not 28. I remember — 20 years ago it was probably easier for you to get through your shows. I’m no spring chicken. I have aches that I’ve never even knew — muscles in my body that (I didn’t know) I had. That’s part of being 38. But as far as what I’ve told you, I think the lateral movement is obviously the most concerning. But every day, especially the last four or five days, I think my balance is getting better in the box, I’m seeing the rotation better. And again, the first five or six games I was hitting a lot of poppers, a lot of ground balls, and now I’m starting to drive the baseball. I’m getting a good feeling about it.”
Mike: “What did you think when you watched Derek come back and watched him, unfortunately, get hurt in one game?”
A-Rod: “It was heartbreaking. Any time any of our players hurt, I hurt. These guys are my brothers, we’ve played together for a long time, I’ve known Derek over 20 years. I’ve seen how hard he worked. We spent a lot of time together in Tampa, he was working around the clock. And there’s not a better competitor in the world than Derek Jeter. When I saw Robbie get hit last night, my heart stopped. That’s just part of being brothers, that’s part of being a Yankee and cheering for each other. But I do think that we have an opportunity here in the second half to get healthy and hopefully come back with a bang and give the fans of New York what they expect, and that’s a world championship-caliber team.”
Mike: “Have you watched the Yankees a lot as they play here? Have you been watching them play a lot?”
A-Rod: “You know me, Mike, I love baseball. I don’t miss an inning or a pitch. But I got to tell you, some of these minor league cities, there’s only cable. There’s no YES Network, there’s no satellite, and that part has been frustrating. I try and listen to John (Sterling) and Suzyn (Waldman) on the air. Before a baseball player, I’m a fan, and I love watching our guys and I love listening in. I love the game.”
Mike: “This team has been struggling offensively. They could sure use a jolt, that’s for sure.”
A-Rod: “I think the guys have done a great job. I think Joe deserves a lot of credit, our coaching staff deserves a lot of credit. I think we’re coming back at the right time and the good news is that it’s not just one guy, it’s going to be a handful of guys. And I think the time is right and I think we’re ready for that.”
Mike: “Did you have any doubts during this process, A-Rod? Did you ever think that you weren’t going to make it back?”
A-Rod: “Look, you always have doubts. If I could just sit here and tell you, ‘Yeah, it’s been just a colorful ride and it’s been a rainbow,’ I would be lying to you. There was very dark moments, challenging, some achy mornings. Every day, getting up really early, leaving the Tampa complex very late; doing cold tubs at night, doing hot tubs in the morning. It’s been a very challenging process. But I’m excited, because the last 10 days, I’ve seen things get a little better. I’m turning the corner, and I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m within striking distance of Monday now, and that makes me really excited, like a 10-year-old boy.”
Mike: “So you expect, I mean, barring something unusual, you expect to be back with the Yanks on Monday?”
Mike: “… I don’t think fans really believed it was going to happen. … I think this will come as a surprise that you really believe you’ll be back on Monday.”
A-Rod: “I will be back on Monday and I’m very excited. And I thank you, ’cause I think you were one of the few that thought that I would make it back. So thank you — and the fans. I want to thank the fans because a lot of the fans have been so supportive. It’s been a long process and (I have) a lot of good people in my corner and I’m just excited to come back and be a part of this.”
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