We have written about mentorship, rookies, veterans and hopes and dreams for the Yankees this spring. To add to this repertoire of stories from the fields of spring training is this connection between Alex Rodriguez, a player facing 41-years-old this season, nearing the end of his career in baseball and Alex Rodriguez who battled his own fears and insecurities along with his allegations of steroid use. Now, when you see A-Rod on the field, you see a different man. Between the foul lines, is a man who is settling in as Alex Rodriguez, the veteran elder player who is mentoring the young players, focusing on results and having a great time. Rodriguez has done the impossible, blurring the lines between his old and new self.
"Three years ago, the venom was toxic whenever A-Rod stepped onto a field — home or away — as he battled Major League Baseball, the Yankees and his own union. After serving his suspension in 2014, the embattled slugger returned to a sea of uncertainty last spring, and while most fans at Steinbrenner Field showed their support, there was a vocal minority still upset with Rodriguez over his scorched earth shenanigans only a year earlier. Thursday, it was a lovefest as A-Rod returned for his 12th season in pinstripes, hoping to help guide the Yankees to their 28th championship," reported the Daily News on Friday.
This spring, instead of worrying about all of the controversy and whether or not he could produce in 2015, now A-Rod is focused on having enough energy to carry his team through the end of the season. A-Rod admits that he kind of got sluggish in August and he needs to be able to have enough in the tank to withstand a long 162-game season. "One of the things I’ve adjusted going into 2016 is to kind of pace myself a little bit more and use spring training as a ramping (up) instead of coming here ready to go day one, which I did last year," stated Rodriguez.
As far as his ability to produce again this season, Rodriguez is committed to giving it his all. "I’m madly in love with the game of baseball," he said, and he is driven to push himself as far as his body will let him. For the Yankees, this is the kind of attitude needed from him and his team in order for all of them to stay in it until the end. For now, it is about spring training and setting goals and it appears that Rodriguez is ready to take on the new challenges he faces this season, leaving the old ones behind him.
-Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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