NEW YORK – The pregame introductions weren’t the most immediate thing on the mind of Yankees manager Joe Girardi as he prepared for opening day.
But he admitted, when it came to Alex Rodriguez, he was a little bit curious.
He hadn’t seen his injured and embattled third baseman since January when he went through surgery to repair a torn labrum and an impingement in his hip.
The media hadn’t heard a peep from Rodriguez all year, his profile obviously low as his name was among several mentioned in a Miami-based performance enhancing drug scandal.
He knew Rodriguez was at Yankee Stadium, but he wasn’t sure if Rodriguez would tip his cap before the first pitch.
“I’m anxious to see,” Girardi said. “I want to see how he’s kind of moving around in a sense, because I haven’t seen him since probably the end of January, when he was just starting to ride a bike. So what he chooses to do today is his prerogative and I’m fine with whatever he wants to do. But I’m anxious to see.”
Rodriguez passed on being introduced with his teammates.
“I don’t need to be introduced to feel like I’m a part of this team,” Rodriguez said. “I tell you what. When I get introduced, I want to get on the field and not look back.”
Rodriguez said his recovery is coming along well and that he has gone through workouts in New York. Although there’s a strong possibility he’ll sit out through the All-Star break, and growing concerns that he could miss the entire season, Rodriguez said he intends to take the field at some point this year.
“I think we’re at the very beginning, I would say Stage 1 of this recovery,” Rodriguez said. “The recovery’s going very well. I’ve been devoting 100 percent of my time and focus to getting back and playing and helping this team win a title. So we’ll definitely leave it to the doctors for that, but right now I think it’s too early to determine.”
A more pressing concern, however, is allegations of PED use, which first emerged in a January report by the Miami New Times. In a statement issued earlier this year, Rodriguez denied purchasing anything from the clinic Biogenesis. He said he has been in contact with the players union but stopped short of elaborating on the situation.
Asked if he was concerned about a possible suspension, Rodrigues said, “I’m not. But I’m not going to further discuss this.”