On Wednesday, beleaguered Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez faced the media for the first time since arbitrator Frederic Horowitz reduced the length of his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs to 162 games.
At a press conference in Mexico City to celebrate the opening of the Alex Rodriguez Energy Fitness Center, Rodriguez spoke in Spanish and, according to ESPN, said that he wouldn’t answer questions about his suspension announced this past Saturday or about the lawsuits he’s filed against Major League Baseball and the Players Association.
Nevertheless he spoke briefly about his plans for the future.
“It could be a big favor that [MLB executives] have done for me,” he told reporters. “I’ve played 20 years without a timeout.”
The three-time Most Valuable Player has missed significant playing time the last three seasons with various injuries. In 2013, he missed the first four months of the season recovering from a hip operation, and ended the year having appeared in only 44 games; he hasn’t played in more than 140 games in any season since 2007.
Rodriguez also told reporters, “2014 will be a good year to rest – physically, mentally – to prepare for the future and start a new chapter of my life.”
As for a possible comeback in 2015, he added, “I expect to play well and finish my career in New York.”
Earlier in the day, at the baseball owners meeting in Paradise Valley, Ariz., Hal Steinbrenner, the managing partner of the New York Yankees, gave qualified support to his third baseman, calling him a “great player,” but falling short of anything more substantive.
"I have not thought about 2015, nor am I going to right now," Steinbrenner told reporters. "My focus has to be right now. But when [Rodriguez] is on and when he's healthy, he's obviously an asset. We'll see what happens."
His teammate and one-time best friend, Derek Jeter told ESPN, about Rodriguez, “I mean, he’s human. I’m sure it’s a rough situation. As a teammate, you’re saddened by the whole thing.”