<
>

A-Rod: 'I'll be fine' without PEDs

TAMPA, Fla. -- Despite being one of the most talented players of his generation, Alex Rodriguez has repeatedly turned to steroids during his career. After his yearlong suspension, A-Rod is not completely sure how he will fare mentally without performance-enhancing drugs.

"I think I'll be fine," Rodriguez said. "Only time will tell."

If A-Rod were to be caught using again, he would be banned from baseball and forfeit the remaining money on his 10-year, $275 million contract. Right now, Rodriguez has three years and $61 million remaining.

Rodriguez, 39, hit for a second straight day Tuesday, taking 35 swings at the New York Yankees' minor league facility and hitting five balls over the wall. He took grounders at third base with Chase Headley, who is replacing him at that position.

The Yankees are without captain Derek Jeter for the first time since 1996. A-Rod has always been Jeter's contemporary in terms of status. However, though Rodriguez said he is willing to help lead, he was quick to say he would not try to be Jeter.

"No one can replace the captain," Rodriguez said. "I know I'm going to miss him tremendously. I've been around a long time, and I've seen a lot of things. If guys want to ask questions, I love talking baseball. You guys know that better than anyone. I love the game and I love to talk it, so whoever needs my help, I'm available.

"What I love to do is talk about baseball, every facet. I'm crazy in love with the game."

On Wednesday, the Yankees' position players are due to report. On Thursday, the team will hold its first full workout. Prior to Thursday, Rodriguez -- as a non-catcher or non-pitcher or a player returning from injury -- is not allowed to work out at the major league facility. But he is ready to keep moving forward.

"It is going to be a process," said Rodriguez, adding it is going "slow" so far. "For me, the most important thing is to be patient. It is going to take three or four weeks to get a good read on everything. Patience is key for me."