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A-Day leftovers: Alex denies ALCS flirt

11/20/2013

NEW YORK -- Believe it or not, there were other topics discussed besides Biogenesis, Bosch and Bud during Alex Rodriguez's half-hour WFAN interview Wednesday afternoon. The highlights:

On whether he is prepared to play in 2014: "One hundred percent, I'm ready for Opening Day. For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm going to have a full offseason to prepare. When you look at what Big Papi did at 38, there's hope. I feel like we're going to come back and have a good year, and I want to be right in the middle of that."

On whether he is still comfortable as a New York Yankee: "No doubt. I was just in New Jersey a week ago for a celebration of Mariano Rivera. I have a lot of close friends on that team. I think that's a big misconception. I love my manager. I have a great relationship with Joe [Girardi]. We have a great core leadership. I'm very close with [Derek] Jeter. I'm very close with [Mark] Teixeira. I'm very comfortable in our clubhouse and I stay in constant communication with my teammates."

On whether he really signed that baseball during the 2012 ALCS: "I never signed any baseball. I never saw a signed baseball. I did not. It's sad that we even have to talk about that. In 20 years of my career I've never done anything like that. In today's day and age there's about 27 cameras in the dugout. Slo-mo, super slo-mo, you name it. You could not get away with that. Not a manager, not a bat boy, no one could get away with that. I couldn't believe that."

On whether he gave his phone number to a woman in the stands: "I know I was struggling but I wasn't doing that bad."

So why not deny it at the time? "It's just never been my style. I've taken the approach I'm going to put my head down and play baseball. I get too much attention as it is. I know there's a lot of people that don't like me and there's a lot of supporters. In an ironic way, what's happened over the last six months is the best thing that ever happened in my career. It's humanized me. People are coming to my defense, even people who say, 'I hate your guts, but what Major League Baseball is doing to you is flat-out disgusting.'"

On his most emotional day as a Yankee: I would say the most emotional day was the day I got hit [by Ryan Dempster] and then hit the home run. When I look back at my 20-year career I will look back on that day and maybe the World Series days as some of the highlights of my career."

On his teammates' reaction to the plunking: "It was unbelievable. I wasn't surprised. I mean [Brett] Gardner, [Robinson] Cano, Mariano came out in his flip-flops all the way from the bullpen. That's the emotion of the game. That was a tough moment but the home run I thought was one of the greatest moments of my life."

On his best day as a Yankee this year: "The experience with Mariano Rivera down the stretch. That day when he came out where he was in tears with the Captain and [Andy] Pettitte, it gave me chills. There wasn't one dry eye in our dugout. That was unbelievable."

On where the Yankees went wrong in 2013: "I would say we were heading in the right direction but when we lost Gardner, that was the big wipeout. We were a different team without Gardner. He really improved this year."

On whether he will return to the hearing room on Thursday: "We're going to huddle up tonight and ultimately I'll make the final decision."

But as usual, the last word comes from Joe Tacopina, A-Rod's lead attorney, while speaking on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show" about the tumultuous day as a whole: "Today was not supposed to go like this, but a couple of the lawyers said this plays right into our hands, so maybe it was a good day."