ARLINGTON, United States: Alex Rodriguez celebrated his birthday by belting a home run in the New York Yankees’ 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) and said he’s in a “good place” as he turns 40.
The controversial Yankees slugger, back this season from a ban that lasted all of 2014, has been gradually winning back fans turned off by the two doping scandals that have tainted his batting feats.
Asked prior to Monday’s game what advice he might give his younger self, A-Rod acknowledged he was in “no position” to give advice to anyone.
“There was a point and a time for me that hitting home runs and being a great baseball player was all that mattered,” Rodriguez said.
“And I figured that by hitting home runs it would justify whatever behavior I had off the field, and I realize today that it is not that way at all.
“Hitting home runs does not make a good father, doesn’t make you a good friend, and it certainly doesn’t make you a good teammate, and to me they are important,” he said.
Rodriguez has impressed in his comeback season in a way few expected.
His solo homer off Texas starting pitcher Matt Harrison was his 24th of the season and 678th of his career and came after he smacked three home runs against Minnesota on Sunday.
Rodriguez became just the fourth major leaguer to homer in his teens and his 40s.
Although Rodriguez has been reluctant to answer questions about his doping past since spring training in February, he made a glancing reference to it in his comments before the game as he reflected on how his season had unfolded.
“I thought April would be my most challenging month and as I started getting more repetition hopefully I would get better, and I think that’s happened,” he said.
“I hope that continues. I am going to continue to work hard and go through my regimen, but it’s also a nice reminder to me that if you play clean and you work hard, that good things can happen.”
With another homer and another Yankees win under his belt, he was looking forward to celebrating his birthday with his teammates and his two daughters.
“I am in a good place,” Rodriguez said.