A- Rod can ‘ feel the love’ in Big Ap­ple

SundayXtra - - SPORTS BASEBALL - By Howie Rumberg

NEW YORK — Alex Ro­driguez had a day off to think about the “over­whelm­ing” re­cep­tion he re­ceived in his sea­son de­but at Yan­kee Sta­dium.

A- Rod did not play Satur­day in the New York Yan­kees’ 9- 3 loss to Detroit, a game that be­gan about 13 hours af­ter Ro­driguez struck out three times in four at- bats dur­ing a 10- in­ning vic­tory over the Tigers.

“Just a day, it’s a quick turn­around and he’s com­ing off an in­jury,” man­ager Joe Gi­rardi said. “If we don’t have that late night maybe I play him to­day.”

Ro­driguez left the ball­park Fri­day night with­out talk­ing to the me­dia, but he was up­beat and smil­ing through­out a chat in front of his locker be­fore Satur­day’s game.

The one topic he wouldn’t dis­cuss: a re­port that said he was given a let­ter by the Yan­kees stat­ing that they are think­ing of fin­ing him for vi­o­lat­ing the col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment in late July.

Cit­ing anony­mous sources, ESPNNewYork re­ported the Yan- kees could fine him for seek­ing an un­ap­proved sec­ond opin­ion on his strained quadri­ceps. He can also be pe­nal­ized for fail­ing to show up for work July 12 af­ter meet­ing with Ma­jor League base­ball of­fi­cials con­duct­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Bio­gen­e­sis, the now- closed Florida anti- ag­ing clinic.

“Maybe they sent it to my lawyers, but I’m not re­ally go­ing to talk about that,” Ro­driguez said.

A call to gen­eral man­ager Brian Cash­man on Satur­day was not re­turned.

Com­ing off Jan­uary hip surgery, Ro­driguez played his first game in New York since a hor­ren­dous post- sea­son and since ap­peal­ing the 211- game dop­ing sus­pen­sion he was given last week.

He re­ceived a mix of cheers and boos through­out the pregame and a good num­ber of fans stood and ap­plauded dur­ing his first at- bat against Detroit’s Rick Por­cello. But any good vibes quickly turned to jeers when he struck out.

“I was hav­ing a hard time keep­ing my emo­tions in check,” Ro­driguez said of the wel­come. “So much bet­ter than I even dreamed of. I just felt the love walk­ing around the city. What peo­ple are scream­ing, pretty in­cred­i­ble. This city is the great­est city in the world.”

Ro­driguez was booed through­out his first three games of the sea­son in Chicago. And he ex­pects to hear plenty for the rest of the year.

“For the last 14 years there’s al­ways been a mix. Do you ever get 100 per cent of any­thing?” Ro­driguez asked. “Even Chicago was a mix. Bos­ton’s go­ing to be a mix — well, maybe not Bos­ton. But I was over­whelmed. Yes­ter­day was a day I’ll never for­get.”

Af­ter go­ing 0 for 4, A- Rod was lifted for de­fence in the ninth in­ning. He had no prob­lem with the move, say­ing he trusts Gi­rardi.

Gi­rardi in­sisted he’s only try­ing to man­age a player re­turn­ing from a se­ri­ous in­jury. And he has ex­pe­ri­ence.

Gi­rardi al­ready has seen star short­stop Derek Jeter re­turn to the dis­abled list twice since com­ing back in July from off- sea­son an­kle surgery.

Out with a right calf strain, Jeter played catch on the field and said he might ride a sta­tion­ary bike. He thinks he could start­ing run­ning in the next cou­ple of days.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

CHARLES REX ARBOGAST / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Yan­kee Alex Ro­driguez signs for fans in Chicago on Wed­nes­day.

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