A-Rod meets with MLB officials
Investigators speak with slugger for two hours, say he was cooperative
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez left the Yankees on Sunday afternoon, and only the eventual outcome of the World Baseball Classic will dictate the date of his return.
But before he suits up for the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez had a brief detour. A-Rod met with officials from Major League Baseball's Department of Investigations and Labor Relations Department after he left Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla.
According to an MLB release, Rodriguez met with officials for two hours and was cooperative.
The Associated Press reported that Rodriguez had two lawyers, Jay Reisinger and James E. Sharp, with him at the meeting in Tampa, Fla. Also present, according to The AP, were union general counsel Michael Weiner, MLB vice president of investigations Dan Mullin, MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred, and senior vice president and general counsel for labor Dan Halem.
Speaking with reporters during the Yankees' 13-11 Grapefruit League loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Rodriguez repeatedly declined to confirm that a meeting was set.
"I've still got to pack a little bit," said Rodriguez, who is switching teams for the 2009 Classic after playing for the United States in '06. "Opportunity of a lifetime, playing in the WBC. I'm excited about that."
MLB wanted to speak with Rodriguez about security issues and his past involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez said that he would be in position to attend a team meeting with Dominican Republic manager Felipe Alou on Monday morning.
"I'm not sure what I'm doing," Rodriguez said. "But I will be in Jupiter, [Fla.], tonight."
Receiving a mixed reception from the crowd of 6,345 on Sunday, Rodriguez finished the afternoon 2-for-3. He doubled off the left-field wall in the first inning off Cincinnati starter Aaron Harang and stroked another two-base hit in the fifth inning off Arthur Rhodes, driving in two runs before leaving for a pinch-runner.
After speaking to reporters, Rodriguez left the stadium in a Maybach luxury vehicle, accompanied by teammates Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. Cano is also on the Dominican Republic roster, while Teixeira is remaining in camp with the Yankees.
"I get to see my family tonight," Rodriguez said. "I'm excited about that. My two beautiful girls."
Rodriguez's meeting with MLB was intended to be non-disciplinary in nature. The New York Times reported on its Web site early Sunday morning that officials wanted to know who provided Rodriguez with performance-enhancing drugs and whether that person had access to Major League clubhouses.
Officials also had questions about Rodriguez's relationships with Angel Presinal, a trainer banned from big league clubhouses, and his cousin, Yuri Sucart. A-Rod said Sucart repeatedly injected him with a banned substance known as "boli" that was brought into the United States from the Dominican Republic.
Sucart was spotted after an exhibition game on Wednesday in Dunedin, Fla., picking up Rodriguez in a sport utility vehicle. After that incident, the Yankees informed Rodriguez that Sucart was no longer welcome at ballparks during Spring Training and the regular season.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday that he believes Rodriguez is handling the continuing situation.
"I think he's come through it really well," Girardi said. "I see him more relaxed every day. Really, the last five or six days, I don't think he's changed a bit. He's been pretty much the same relaxed guy. The first couple days, you could tell it was weighing heavily on his mind, and I'm sure it's still weighing on his mind, but time helps everything. He probably understands how to approach it better now that he has time to go through it. I think he has done very well."
A-Rod said that he anticipates he will receive a positive reception from fans upon reporting to the Dominican roster. He expects the same from his teammates.
"One-hundred percent, they've been extremely supportive," Rodriguez said. "The one thing about players is they understand that we're human and we make mistakes."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.