A-Rod experiment rolls on.
“I’m just excited to be playing baseball again. It’s going to take two or three weeks for me to kind of get a gauge of where I am.”
_ Alex Rodriguez
In the end, that’s all that matters. Can Alex Rodriguez still play? Can he help the Yankees win? When we last saw him in 2013, he looked like a guy with nothing left in the tank.
There’ll always a circus aspect to his presence, and there’s nothing he can do about that. But the Yankees have so much professional in their clubhouse that it’s not going to matter.
As Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on the first day of Spring Training, dealing with flurries of news and potential distractions is part of the experience.
A-Rod passed his first test earlier this week when he got a two-strike single in his first at-bat and drew a walk. But we really won’t know for weeks, as we figure out if his body will hold up and if he can still be a productive big league player.
“You just want to see his at-bats as he goes on, that he feels more comfortable,” Girardi said. “That he sees pitches. I don’t make too much out of players’ at-bats the first couple of weeks because they’re just getting back into it. I’ve said all along we’re going to wait to judge Alex. It’s not fair. He hasn’t played in two years.
“At-bats aren’t easy for a lot of guys this time of the year. Trying to get your timing. Guys are changing speeds. Sometimes, they’re command isn’t as great, and at-bats can be uncomfortable.”
He’s working at both first base and third base, but it’s unclear when he’ll play the field. If he has a role on the 2015 Yankees, it’s as a Designated Hitter.
Here’s what A-Rod had to say earlier this week…
- “We want to get as many at-bats as possible. Yet, we don’t want to rush it.”
- “It’s going to take time. I think two or three weeks from now I’ll have a much better idea. Right now, it’s about getting into playing shape.”
- “Yeah, I was a little nervous. It’s been a long time since I put on the pinstripes. It’s definitely fun to have ‘em back on.”
- “For me, the most incredible thing has been all the good-luck texts, emails and good wishes I’ve had from so many people. I never dreamed I’d get this kind of support. That part of it has been humbling.”
- “Once you hit rock bottom, anytime you hear a few cheers these days is a pleasant surprise. That makes it better.”
- “I love the game, and I’v been away from it for a long time. But it’s great to be back and have a bat in my mind.”
- “I’m having fun. This is as much fun as I’ve had in a long time in Spring Training. Just feeling really grateful that I get to play the game that I love.”