Yankees’ DH Alex Rodriguez Reflects On ‘Cinderella Season’


A year ago, outcast Alex Rodriguez talked to a media horde on the sidewalk after coming off a year long PED suspension. 

The hatchet, has been buried.

Yesterday, coming off a successful campaign in which he slugged 33 home runs and drove in 86 runs, made his first press conference of the year in a Yankee-controlled room in Steinbrenner Field.

“It’s certainly liberating to come into this season not carrying all this luggage around with me.” A-Rod said. “I’m at ease, I’m in a good place.”

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The Yankees, and many of their fans, had vilified the then-39 year old after the suspension and the questions surrounding him like: can he help?

No one knew if he would be able to reignite his career, make a difference in the lineup, or even make a roster spot. No one predicted that he’d hit the ball out of the infield, or be able to run 90 feet, or what a return from a year long absence could turn a potential Hall of Famer into.

“I saw [predictions of] 12 to 14 home runs, 80 games,” he said. “That was a fair handicap. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Rodriguez answered those questions with a .250 batting average, .356 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage and led the team in home runs. His numbers might have been better if it weren’t for an end-of-season slump where he slashed .191/.300/.377 in September and October.

But what means more than the number is: he avoided controversy, while becoming a team leader.

Rodriguez is 13 home runs away from joining the 700-homer club and 27 away from the legendary Babe Ruth at 714 on the all time home runs list.

“I know that I can speak firsthand, I had communication with [Brian] Cashman this offseason. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get back to playing baseball. I have a lot more work to do [to make up for past mistakes]. Like I said earlier, I’m only on first base. I’ve got to keep going.”

If you remember, there was a feud between he and the Yankees over the $6 million he was owed as a marketing agreement when he tied Willie Mays at 660 in 2015. A-Rod will be owed an additional $6 million when/if he ties Ruth, but there should be no argument when the time comes to write the check.

When it comes to expectations this season, there’s no question he’ll have to recreate his fairy tale 2015. The Yankees struggled mightily against lefthanders last year, even more so when Mark Teixeira broke his leg in August. And even with the improved lineup, they will need A-Rod to produce.

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“I’m a righthanded bat in the middle of the lineup. You just want to be productive,’’ A-Rod said. “I never look at the season and think about numbers. I think about how I can help the team win.”