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“I love this team. I love the fans of New York City,” he said. “It’s a very complicated situation but we’re doing the best we can.”

But right now, the reconciliation appears to be impossible. Cashman said Rodriguez told him last month he had no issues with the handling of his quadriceps injury, then had Dr. Michael Gross claim there was no injury.

“I felt like Selena Roberts a little bit there. Or Katie Couric or anybody else that I could come up with,” Cashman said, referring to reporters who heard Rodriguez’s drug denials prior to his 2009 admission. “That moment in time, I was lied to.”

But hours later, the Yankees were happy to receive Rodriguez’s performance on the field and angry he was hit by Dempster, who denied the smacking was intentional. They began Monday six games out in the AL wild-card race and need his bat if they are to make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 years.

“Whether you like me or hate me, what’s wrong is wrong, and that was unprofessional and silly,” he said, referring to Dempster.

Long after the final out, Rodriguez was asked whether Dempster should be suspended.

“I’m the wrong guy to be asking about suspensions. Holy mackerel,” A-Rod said with a laugh. “I’ve got an attorney I can recommend.”

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AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman in Boston contributed to this report.