Contrite Slugger Shows Up Early To Camp, Says All Right Things After Yearlong PED Ban

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s always something.

Alex Rodriguez said all the right things in his official return to the New York Yankees on Monday, though the timing and manner of his arrival to the team’s spring training complex reportedly had some in the organization “fuming.”

The buzz began to build before 11 a.m. as reporters received confirmation that A-Rod was in town and en route to the minor league facilities. He was re-routed to take a physical at the request of the team, delaying his grand entrance by about two hours.

According to the New York Daily News, “team officials were fuming” that Rodriguez never shared his intentions to show up early. Position players aren’t due to report until Wednesday.

“He’s learned nothing,” an unnamed baseball exec told the newspaper. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”

General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged Monday morning that he was “trying to confirm” and was “not aware” of A-Rod’s imminent arrival after being alerted by members of the media. The Daily News reported that Rodriguez had trained at the same building without telling the Yankees before and “complied immediately” when told he’d have to first go through his physical.

CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman told Jared Max of WCBS 880 that it was “a very small misdemeanor in the scope of things.” A-Rod was banned the entire 2014 season for his role in baseball’s Biogenesis-PED scandal.

“If he said he’s going to give open communication to the team, he should probably stick to that,” Heyman said.

Rodriguez was contrite in a short session with reporters without getting into detail about what led to his yearlong drug suspension.

“I cringe when I look at some of things I did,” said A-Rod, who has been supplanted at third base by Chase Headley. “No mistake that I made has any good answer, no justification. It’s unexplainable, and that’s on me. I’ve dug a big hole for myself. Paid a price.”

The 39-year-old took infield grounders and hit six home runs during batting practice Monday. The Yankees aren’t sure what to expect from Rodriguez, who along with the long layoff has two surgically repaired hips.

“I’m willing to try,” Rodriguez said. “When (manager) Joe (Girardi) needs me, I’m going to be ready. I’m here early, trying to get a jump-start. It’s a process. It’s going to take time.”

He also deflected a question about whether he has any supporters within the organization. A-Rod has apologized to the team, Commissioner Rob Manfred and the fans leading into the 2015 season.

“You’d have to ask them,” he said. “I created a big headache for a lot of people. So, I don’t blame whoever is mad at me.”

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