NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Derek Jeter is history, Alex Rodriguez is back and a new era started for the Yankees on Monday with Masahiro Tanaka’s first pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays — a season with New York in the unfamiliar role of underdog.
“Life had to go on without Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Yogi and Mantle,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It just happens.”
For much of last year, it appeared the Yankees were hoping life would go on without Rodriguez, who sued Major League Baseball, the players’ association and New York’s team physician during his drug suspension and then withdrew the actions. After serving the one-year ban, he’s back on the active roster as his 40th birthday approaches in July, owed $61 million for the final three seasons of his contract.
“I feel like I’m 18 years old with Lou Piniella in Seattle again,” he said.
Rodriguez hasn’t played a full season since 2007 because of the suspension, two hip operations and a variety of lesser injuries. He lost his third base job to Chase Headley and figures to be primarily a designated hitter and backup to Headley and first baseman Mark Teixeira.
A-Rod hit .267 in spring training (12 for 45) with one double, three homers and four RBIs.