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Unpaid vacation: A-Rod says year-long ban could be benefit
MEXICO CITY — Alex Rodriguez says his season-long suspension could be a benefit, allowing him to rest and return to the Yankees for the final three years of his contract.
Speaking late Wednesday in Mexico’s capital during a promotional appearance, Rodriguez declined to talk specifically about his suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.
Rodriguez, in his first public comments since arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s decision Saturday, said he wanted to end his career with New York. Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has declined to talk about his possible return but has called him a “great player.”
“The 2014 season could be a big help for me,” Rodriguez said. “It might serve as a break and close the chapter, and begin in 2015 with my last three years under contract with the Yankees.”
Rodriguez, who will be 39 when the 2015 season opens, repeated several times that this part of his life had not been completed.
“I want to retire in New York, and I think the rest will do me good,” he added. “For me, the book isn’t finished. There are still chapters to finish. … Right now I haven’t thought about retiring.”
Rodriguez, fifth on the career list with 654 homers sued the Major League Baseball and the players’ union on Monday in an effort to overturn the decision by Horowitz, who reduced what originally was a 211-game suspension issued by Selig in August.
“This process has been taxing both mentally and physically throughout the past eight months,” Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Rodriguez, said in a statement Thursday. “Alex will abide by the rulings of the federal judge — whatever he decides — and get ready for 2015 should the judge rule against him. He will continue to move forward with his complaint which will help all players against this unfair system.”
Also speaking Wednesday night, Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he is saddened by the situation.
“The whole situation is bad,” Jeter said at his Turn 2 Foundation golf classic in Tampa, Fla. “The whole thing has been kind of messy.”
Jeter has been in communication with Rodriguez, but declined to say what was discussed.
“I’m sure it’s a rough situation,” Jeter said.
Hall of Famer Goose Gossage attended Jeter’s event and called the Rodriguez matter unfortunate for the game and everyone involved.
“I wish A-Rod would just leave it alone and go on,” Gossage said. “Then see about coming back. Who knows what the future holds for A-Rod and the Yankees? I think A-Rod, probably, got what he deserved. I hate to see it happen to him, but I think the punishment fits the crime.”
By John R. Bolton
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