NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Yankees expect Alex Rodriguez to play third base next season but want the suspended star to prove during spring training he deserves to have his position back after a one-year absence.
The 14-time All-Star hasn’t played an injury-free season since 2007, turns 40 on July 27 and missed all of this year while serving his penalty for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. He’ll have to show his body is up to the rigors of a major league schedule.
“We’ve got to see where he’s physically at, and if he can play the field, how many days he can play the field and how many days he needs to DH,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at a news conference Monday. “I don’t think really any of us know about him until we actually get him into games in spring training.”
New York missed consecutive postseasons for the first time since 1992 and ’93. While beloved captain Derek Jeter is retiring, the much-maligned Rodriguez will be returning. The three-time AL MVP is signed for three additional seasons for a total of $61 million, part of his record $275 million, 10-year contract.
“He hasn’t played in a year. That’s not easy to do, to sit out a year,” Girardi said. “Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness I think you have to see where he’s at.”