"I will say this,'' A-Rod said. "If this is the only thing we're talking about, fellas, we're doing good.''
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Ah, the good old days.
Rodriguez stood at his locker before Friday night's game against the Angels responding to questions he would have preferred not to answer, questions that arose from a published report Thursday that said his cousin, Yuri Sucart, has been spotted on the road with the third baseman.
Sucart is the cousin who A-Rod said supplied him with performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 when he was a member of the Rangers. Sucart was banned from any team function or facility in 2009, and Rodriguez struck a tone similar to that of general manager Brian Cashman, who said Thursday that A-Rod's association with family members in public is "none of my business.''
"There's no rules that are being broken,'' Rodriguez said. "He stays at his own place. He's not on the team bus, he's not on the team plane, he's not in the clubhouse. We're compliant with the rules. Again, one thing I learned a few years ago were my responsibilities, and they're very clear . . . I'm just excited this is behind us now and everyone checked it off their list.''
Rodriguez, 35, demurred when asked if Sucart, 13 years his elder, is working for him.
"I don't want to get into all that,'' he said. "He's been with me since I was born and I love him very much, and he's going to be around for many, many years, well after I'm done playing baseball.''
Asked again if his cousin works for him, Rodriguez said, "Sure.'' He smiled when asked to give an example. "Watches the Heat game with me,'' he said, referencing the NBA playoffs.
A-Rod started the interview session by quizzing a national columnist about the NBA Finals. "Before we get started, I want to know about your analysis of the game yesterday,'' he said of Thursday night's comeback victory by the Mavericks.
Manager Joe Girardi's reaction when he was made aware of the story Thursday? "I really didn't have much of one,'' he said.
"I know there's history there,'' Girardi said. "But I think it's important as people that we don't turn our back on family. We've all had family members, or it could have been us, that have done things that haven't necessarily been the right thing to do. But I don't think you turn your back on family. I really didn't think much of it.''
MLB conducted its own investigation, a brief one, Thursday and concluded there wasn't an issue.
Though some concluded that Sucart's presence means Rodriguez is using performance-enhancing drugs again, Cashman didn't make that leap.
"I know Alex has been through a tornado of stuff I know he doesn't want to go through again, so I trust that's not the case and none of that stuff is going on,'' Cashman said Thursday of further PED use. "I'm not worried about that aspect of it.''
And Rodriguez said he isn't worried about how the situation looks.
"I'm not really concerned,'' he said. "I'm very crystal-clear on my responsibilities, both with this team and personally. I love my family, all my family, very much. I'm very good with where I stand today.''
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