A-Rod 'ready to go,' reports early to Yankees

Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:06pm EST
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(Reuters) - Alex Rodriguez, returning from a year-long doping ban, surprised the New York Yankees with his unexpected arrival at the team's training camp on Monday where he said he cringed at some of the mistakes he had made.

The disgraced slugger showed up two days before he was due to report and received a physical exam and took batting practice at the minor league complex before meeting with reporters.

"I feel healthy and ready to go," said Rodriguez, adding that he thought a year off resting his body and training had benefited him. "I'm confident if I stay healthy I can do good things.

"Plenty of mistakes along the way. I cringe sometimes when I look at some of the things I did. But I paid my penalty and I'm grateful that I have another opportunity."

Toting a box of bats and wearing a green University of Miami sweat suit, the 39-year-old Rodriguez made his highly anticipated arrival without letting the team know in advance.

Asked what to expect when Rodriguez reported, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said he would be treated like any other player as far as the team were concerned.

"From my end, it'll be, he'll show up like everybody else," said Cashman. "He'll be in his hitting group and his fielding group, stretching, all that stuff, conditioning side of it. It'll be no different from our end."

Rodriguez, who ranks fifth on Major League Baseball's all-time home run list with 654, also fielded grounders and put in some jogging in the outfield.

Rodriguez was one of 14 players suspended in 2013 stemming from the Biogenesis scandal and was originally handed a 211-game ban. He was the only player to appeal and the punishment was lowered to 162 games.   Continued...

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) takes batting practice during spring training at Yankees Minor Leauge Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports