Major League Roundup: An uneventful first workout for A-Rod
The baseball notebook …
TAMPA, Fla. ó Alex Rodriguez was the last of 60-plus New York Yankees to take the field for the team’s first full-squad workout, sprinting from the right-field corner just as the first shuffle run began.
Some of the 1,200 or so fans gathered under a near-cloudless sky at Steinbrenner Field cheered when they saw No. 13. A few yelled out encouraging words. Not a single boo or insult was heard.
It remained that way as the most-prominent baseball player to admit using banned drugs completed two hours of training for a season that doesn’t start until April 6. Based on Wednesday’s small sample, Yankees fans are as forgiving as Rodriguez’s teammates.
“We’re here to support him through it,” Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. “I don’t condone what he did. We don’t condone what he did. And Alex doesn’t condone what he did. And I think at this point now it’s our jobs to try to help him be as comfortable as he can on the field and try to move past this.”
Rodriguez reported for spring training on Tuesday and held a 32-minute news conference, his first since Sport Illustrated reported on its Web site Feb. 7 that he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids during baseball’s anonymous 2003 survey.
With photographers and television cameras tailing him around the complex, the star third baseman spent most of Wednesday’s workout on a back field behind the first-base stands. He fielded grounders, hit in an indoor cage with Hideki Matsui and Juan Miranda, took batting practice on the back field with Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira and Colin Curtis, and finished with bunting in the bullpen.
After conditioning on the field behind the third-base stands, A-Rod returned to the clubhouse, went to the players’ lounge and then to the weight room. He showered and dressed, then left without commenting on his day other than to say, “Talk tomorrow.”
TAMPA, Fla. ó Jose Canseco believes he was the only player telling the whole truth about steroids. Who used and when. For how long.
He was called a liar and a huckster for admitting in two books he juiced for nearly the entire length of a 462 home run career and describing how he injected teammates with illegal anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.
Now that players he named in his tell-all memoirs, like Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro, have admitted using performance-enhancing drugs or flunked drug tests, Canseco wants an apology from baseball for treating him as an outcast.
PEORIA, Ariz. ó Ken Griffey Jr. has decided to return to the Seattle Mariners.
The decision came after an apparent agreement with the Atlanta Braves fell through, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The contract is for one year and is believed to be worth $2 million in base salary, plus incentives.
The 39-year-old Griffey is fifth on baseball’s career home-run list with 611.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. ó The Atlanta Braves agreed Wednesday on a $2.825 million, one-year contract with second baseman Kelly Johnson, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing.
Last season, Johnson hit .287 with 12 homers, 69 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. He turns 27 on Sunday.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. ó Astros left-hander Mike Hampton is back in camp, relieved that an irregular heartbeat returned to normal without treatment.
Hampton said Wednesday he was nervous after the minor irregularity turned up during a physical when he reported to camp Saturday. After he returned to Houston, another heart test came back normal.
He passed a treadmill test Tuesday and returned to Florida.