A-Rod nixes questions after game

Updated: May 5, 2009, 9:31 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez hit a long homer, played seven innings in the field and drew a walk off Philadelphia's J.C. Romero on Monday in his latest extended spring training game.

The Yankees third baseman did not take questions after the game, which was played on the same day a book, "A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez," was scheduled for release. As he was leaving, a smiling and upbeat Rodriguez said he "feels good."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it was possible Rodriguez could rejoin the team Friday, when New York starts a trip at Baltimore.

"Is Friday the day? I can't tell you," Girardi said in New York. "So much of it just depends on how he feels and when he believes that he's ready to go. I have not really put a date on it, because I want to see how he bounces back on Wednesday or even tomorrow. You know, if he bounces back on Wednesday, it's up to him. When he feels that he's ready, we're probably going to take him back."

Girardi said Rodriguez had slid on a pad but not on dirt, but that probably was sufficient for a return. Rodriguez is scheduled to play seven more innings Tuesday, and Girardi does not have to see him play nine before activating A-Rod.

The book, written by Selena Roberts, makes the case that Rodriguez most likely used steroids in high school and may have taken HGH while with the Yankees. The biography paints a portrait of a deeply insecure man trying to cope with being abandoned by his father and obsessed with becoming a superstar.

Major League Baseball, which already is investigating Rodriguez after he acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003, has asked to talk with Roberts about Rodriguez. Roberts said during an interview Monday on WFAN, however, that she would not help MLB with its investigation.

"I've said many times, I'm a journalist who covers Major League Baseball for Sports Illustrated. I've covered MLB for the New York Times, so it would be a conflict of interest for me to be involved in their investigation after I covered them," Roberts said on WFAN. "That's what I said to them about it being a conflict of interest for me ... They did not specify pitch tipping, they just said they wanted to talk to me."

The three-time AL MVP, coming back from right hip surgery March 9, also ran the bases Monday against Philadelphia minor leaguers. He batted in each of the first seven innings, going 1-for-6 with a walk. In his fourth plate appearance, he drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch off Romero, who had two wins in Philadelphia's World Series victory over Tampa Bay last year.

Romero is pitching for the Phillies extended spring training team while serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for androstenedione, a substance Mark McGwire used in the 1990s that was later banned by baseball.

In his last at-bat, Rodriguez hit a solo homer to left-center. Two of his three hits in the extended games have been homers. Rodriguez did not have a ball hit to him at third, but received a throw and applied a tag on a stolen base attempt during his final inning.

"I'm looking forward to him getting back and helping us on the field, and my guess is so are all of his teammates and so is the organization," Girardi said. "As far as caring about the book, I don't know how, you know, the players feel."

About 45 people, all supportive of Rodriguez, attended the game. Most of them stood in line after he was done and got his autograph.

"I know he's anxious to get back," Giardi said in New York before Monday's game against Boston. "I know he's enjoying his rehab in a sense because he's getting to do what he loves to do. I mean, he's been through a lot in his life, so I don't necessarily think that this is going to affect him."

Notes

Romero retired the other three batters he faced. ... Yankees RHP Sergio Mitre allowed one hit and struck out two over two scoreless innings in his first game since right elbow ligament replacement surgery. ... Rodriguez was in the on-deck circle before his last at-bat when a little girl asked him if she could get the bat if A-Rod broke it. He turned, smiled and said "Yes." ... Rodriguez played five innings of defense Saturday. ... New York recalled RHP Alfredo Aceves from Scranton-Wilkes-Barre and optioned RHP Anthony Claggett to the Triple-A team. Claggett had been recalled before Sunday's rainout, but with more rain in the forecast, Girardi wanted a long reliever.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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