While addressing the media at U.S. Cellular Field Monday, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was adamant about respecting the “process” that lies ahead of him.
Rodriguez is one of 13 players being suspended for involvement in Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis probe. But the 38-year old slugger is the only one that decided to appeal his punishment.
“There was a lot [that went into the decision to appeal]. I’m not going to get into that today,” Rodriguez said. “I’m obviously disappointed with the news today, no question about it. But what we’ve always fought for is the process and I think we have that. And at some point we’ll sit in front of an arbiter and give our case.”
MLB announced it will suspend Rodriguez for 211 games starting Thursday (the remainder of 2013 and all of the 2014 season) and therefore he was eligible to rejoin the Yankees Monday for their opening game of a series against the White Sox. A-Rod had missed the Yankees' first 110 games after having hip surgery in January.
Rodriguez did not give clear-cut answers to several questions he faced during the press conference. Most notably, he chose not to answer questions surrounding his PED use and offered no certainties when asked about his future in baseball.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi also addressed the Rodriguez news prior to Monday’s game. Girardi doesn’t believe the suspension or Rodriguez’s return to the lineup will alter how the team goes about its day-to-day operation.
“He’s here, he’s going to play. It doesn’t really change anything for us,” Girardi said. “When he’s healthy and he feels good we expect him to be productive and I’m going to play him.
“I think it’s kind of clear what the expectations are [of him] by where I put him in the lineup. I expect him to drive in runs and have productive at bats for us and to play third base.”
Rodriguez called the last seven months a “nightmare” and “probably the worst time of my life.” He admitted that some mistakes have been made along the way. But he also made it known that his focus is on helping the Yankees reach the postseason and defended his decision to go through the appeal process.
“There’s nothing about it that’s been easy; all of it has been challenging,” Rodriguez said of the situation. “I’m sure there have been mistakes made along the way. We’re here now. I’m a human being. I’ve had two hip surgeries. I’ve had two knee surgeries. I’m fighting for my life. I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself, no one else will.”