NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez first cleared the air with new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Then he showed up in the Bronx to say sorry to the New York Yankees.
There’s at least one stop left on his apology tour, and it’s a big one. A-Rod is expected to meet the media for a public mea culpa before spring training commences later this month in Tampa, Fla.
On Tuesday, the 39-year-old slugger met with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, club president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and assistant general manager Jean Afterman to express regret for “his actions over the past several years,” the team said in a statement. Orchestrating a scorched-earth appeal, Rodriguez sued the team, league and players union while fighting a yearlong suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy. He eventually dropped the lawsuits in Feb. 2014 and accepted a 162-game ban for his role in baseball’s Biogenesis scandal.
“There was an honest and frank discussion on all of the issues,” the Yankees said in a statement.
Those issues reportedly include how and when Rodriguez will address the media as he prepares to return to the clubhouse.
According to ESPN, the team wants A-Rod to speak publicly before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 20. The New York Daily News reported that the Yankees made it clear “they are open to his ideas” but “strongly suggested that he hold his ‘apology to the fans’ … in some venue other than the Yankees complex.”
In other words: it’s on you, A-Rod. Figure it out.
A major unknown is how far Rodriguez would be willing to go when addressing the media. Will the player who once promised to tell his whole story come totally clean? One local reporter, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, doesn’t see it happening.
“The Yankees want no part of A-Rod holding another apology news conference during spring training, although I don’t think Rodriguez is inclined to give a full accounting of his misdeeds the way he (not really) did during his last such apology in 2009,” Davidoff wrote. “I anticipate more of a ‘Sorry for the bleep-storm I created, and now let’s get back to baseball’ vibe.”
Rodriguez admitted in ’09 to using performance-enhancing drugs during a three-year period (2001-03) as a Texas Ranger.
He reportedly came clean last year to federal agents about his relationship with Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, saying he paid cash for PEDs from the shuttered clinic and received injections of human growth hormone. A-Rod’s reported sit-down with the Drug Enforcement Administration came just months after he famously denied any wrongdoing in the Biogenesis matter on WFAN radio.
“We have to get these people to understand that if you make mistakes, people will forgive you if you come forward,” MLB hits leader Pete Rose, who was banned for life for betting on games — a charge he denied for nearly 15 years — told USA Today in August 2013. “Don’t do like I did.”
The Yankees — in the midst of a two-year playoff drought — hope that whatever A-Rod says next will help alleviate the biggest distraction heading into the season.
Position players are due to report to spring training on Feb. 25.
“I think he will play hard and put his nose to the grindstone,” Cashman said last week on WFAN. “That’s not asking much, coming from him. His work ethic is not questionable. He loves the game of baseball.”