A-Rod mum on Canseco claims
Third baseman sidesteps questions about text from book
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez chose to keep his thoughts under wraps for long stretches of last season, and it paid off in the form of an American League MVP Award and a 10-year contract. At least on the topic of Jose Canseco's book, A-Rod appears ready to follow the same plan of attack for 2008.
Rodriguez sidestepped questions regarding Canseco's allegations on Wednesday, saying that he was "just excited to be playing baseball" one day after the text of an upcoming book, "Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball," claimed that Canseco introduced A-Rod to a known steroids supplier in the late 1990s.
"It's over, as far as I'm concerned," Rodriguez said. "No further comment on the matter."
Before the Yankees' 4-0 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday at Bright House Field, general manager Brian Cashman spoke briefly with Rodriguez concerning the book, in which Canseco wrote that he never specifically saw Rodriguez use steroids, but said he "did everything but inject the guy myself."
"I checked his temperature," Cashman said. "He said all is good."
Rodriguez went 0-for-3 on Wednesday, but it has been a strong -- and, until recently, relatively uneventful -- spring for the Yankees slugger. Rodriguez is batting .432 in Grapefruit League play and has three home runs and eight RBIs as the Yankees prepare to head north for the regular season.
"The spring has been great all along," Rodriguez said. "The team has played well and I felt great all spring. I'm in a great frame of mind going from last year. I just wanted to continue exactly what I was doing last year.
"The bell is about to ring and it's getting really exciting. I can't wait for March 31 in the Bronx."
Though there is a new face in manager Joe Girardi, the Yankees' core has remained stable from last season, when Rodriguez's high-caliber performance helped the club dig out of an early hole and secure the American League Wild Card.
Rodriguez said he sees good things ahead for his team this year, his first season under a new $275 million deal that ensures his presence in pinstripes through the 2018 season.
"I'm excited. I think the team is in good shape," Rodriguez said. "We've had a good spring, a very blue-collar spring. ... You want to always stay injury free. That's number one. I think one through 40, as far as roster, we have pretty good depth. As long as our pitching stays healthy, we're going to be OK."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.