NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez is working out “like a fiend” to be ready for spring training, a source cozy with the disgraced Yankees slugger told the New York Daily News.
Rodriguez was reinstated last week after serving a full-season suspension for his role in Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis scandal. The third baseman has publicly denied taking performance-enhancing drugs from the shuttered clinic, but reportedly came clean in exchange for immunity during a meeting in January with federal investigators.
The newspaper’s source said reports of A-Rod admitting he used PEDs to the Drug Enforcement Administration have “nothing to do with his future.”
“He’s already served his time,” the Daily News’ source said. “It’s just noise.”
The unnamed person close to A-Rod said “this is just making him more determined” and he “just wants to prove everybody wrong,” adding that the 39-year-old has been working on hitting, fielding and conditioning at the University of Miami.
But there are questions about the physical limitations of Rodriguez, who has two surgically repaired hips and hasn’t played a game since September 25, 2013. Manager Joe Girardi has said A-Rod will need to prove he can still play third base. There’s been some talk of Rodriguez backing up Mark Teixeira at first, though serving as a full-time designated hitter could be his best option.
Either way, it seems the Yankees — underwhelming at the plate in 2014 — are ready to welcome A-Rod back into the clubhouse.
“If he is a guy who is going to help us (win), we obviously welcome him,” outfielder Brett Gardner said Wednesday on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio.
The Bombers have been through this before. As a member of the Yankees in 2009, A-Rod confessed to using PEDs during his stint with the Texas Rangers.
“I know that things will be a little different with the fans, especially at the start,” Gardner said. “But hopefully as the season goes on it will be business as usual.”
Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, is owed $61 million over the final three years of his contract, plus milestone bonuses.
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