A-Rod reconciles with ex-skipper Torre

Updated: June 28, 2010, 9:01 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

LOS ANGELES -- It took Alex Rodriguez three days to make his decision to reconcile with Joe Torre, and then about 10 seconds to act on it.

And when it was over, the Yankees third baseman admitted it felt good to get it out of the way.

"I thought it was important for me to go over there," Rodriguez said. "I thought it was the mature thing to do."

About two hours before Sunday's game between the Yankees and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, with the Yankees stretching on their side of the field and Torre standing behind the batting cage watching his team hit, Rodriguez huddled briefly with Yankee publicist Jason Zillo.

Then, he abruptly turned and jogged directly at Torre, who looked up to see his former player coming toward him with a hand extended. Torre, who had said he would shake Rodriguez's hand if he saw him on the field, instead, jokingly waved his palms and began to back away. A smiling Rodriguez struck a boxing pose.

Then, the two men, once teammates but now adversaries, shook hands and chatted amiably while cameras clicked and notebooks fluttered.

"I won't share what we said," Rodriguez said. "But it was a nice exchange."

Torre and Rodriguez had been at odds even when Torre was managing the Yankees, dating back to a 2006 American League Division Series, when Torre dropped a slumping A-Rod to eighth in the lineup for the fourth and ultimately final game against the Detroit Tigers.

Then, after Torre left the Yankees in 2007, he co-authored with Tom Verducci a book, "The Yankee Years," which painted an unflattering portrait of Rodriguez, including the revelation that his teammates referred to him as "A-Fraud" behind his back.

This weekend, while Torre struck a conciliatory tone toward Rodriguez with reporters, it was A-Rod -- who made no secret of his distaste for his former manager -- who wound up making the first move.

"I felt in my heart it was important not to let things linger, and to build on what I've tried to build here over the last two years, to take some steps forward," Rodriguez said. "It felt good. You don't know when's the next time Joe and I are going to see each other, and right then and there I decided to be a gentleman and do the right thing."

On Friday, as Torre greeted a virtual receiving line of former players and associates on the field, Rodriguez stood with his back to the scene and never came over to say hello. Nor did Torre make any move toward Rodriguez, although he told reporters he held no animosity toward A-Rod and would shake his hand.

In the end, it was A-Rod who made the move, although two full days later.

"It was a big zoo on Friday," he said. "I didn't want to be caught up in that. It took me a couple of days to get my thoughts and I did that today."

Wallace Matthews is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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