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“I can’t say enough good things about him,” said Brother Kevin Handibode, the president of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, where Rodriguez attended as a freshman. “I know about all the good work he does, and you don’t hear about it. You just don’t hear about the good that Alex has done in a very, very quiet way.”

Later, at his afternoon event, Rodriguez donned a Christmas hat and handed out toys for about 30 minutes, everything from basketballs to bicycles to Barbie dolls.

He isn’t exactly sure what the next few weeks will entail; there’s no firm date for the surgery and the plans for his rehabilitation are still largely being worked out.

“I think I’m definitely going to play,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been down this road before. We have a good plan. We have a good team in place.”

The Yankees have pursued former Boston third baseman Kevin Youkilis in recent days, and Rodriguez gave the longtime New York foe a glowing recommendation when asked about him on Saturday.

“Youk has always been a tough out,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a tough player, a winning player. Whatever the franchise wants to do, I think that’ll be a good move for us.”

Several times on Saturday, he drew the parallel back to 2009, when he started the season rehabbing from hip surgery and the Yankees wound up winning a championship. He can envision a similar script in 2013.

“Don’t count us out,” Rodriguez said. “We are the New York Yankees.”