Alex Rodriguez expressed confidence in the arbitration process and his future with the Yankees just days before the scheduled appeal of his 211-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball.
Rodriguez said he intends to complete his contract with the Yankees, which runs through 2017. "I'm going to finish my career here, absolutely," he said. "I'm looking forward to that. Yes, yes, yes. Three yeses. I've shown myself that there's a lot left in the tank -- and I have a lot to prove."
Entering last night, Rodriguez has played in 44 games since returning from offseason hip surgery. He is hitting .244 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in. Tender hamstrings have relegated him to designated hitter in 16 games.
Wednesday night he was replaced by pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth inning. Joe Girardi said Rodriguez asked out to work on his hamstring injury. "I think playing third base I've been a lot more comfortable, the numbers show that," Rodriguez said. He entered the day batting .307 at third, just .118 as a DH.
"It's definitely an adjustment I haven't made very well, the connection to the game is different," he said. "That's not an excuse by any means. Prior to my legs getting banged up a little bit, my play at third base was good, my power was good I was kind of in a good groove for a while."
Rodriguez was suspended by the league on Aug. 5 for his alleged connection to Biogenesis, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Miami that reportedly was supplying players with performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez has been allowed to play with the Yankees because he appealed the suspension.
"I believe in the process. I'm fighting for a lot of players, both present and in the future," Rodriguez said before Wednesday night's game with the Rays. Barring any last- minute legal action, the confidential hearing will begin Monday at MLB's offices in Manhattan, a source said. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will preside. Rodriguez is expected to attend some of the sessions.
Asked if he thought there could be a speedy resolution, Rodriguez said, "I'm not sure, I'm not sure. "In a perfect world all of it would have been done quietly, but it's not a perfect world. But we're going to address this and hopefully put this to bed as soon as possible."
Rodriguez said teammates and other players have been supportive.
"I'm very thankful for the emails, texts, and private conservations I've had with our union members," he said. "The support has been overwhelming. And the fans have been unbelievable. I've had more people come to my defense and be in my corner than at any point in my career. I am grateful for that and I am looking forward to hopefully putting this behind me."
Rodriguez was asked what his reaction would be if the suspension is upheld. "It's a hypothetical, I know it has to be asked," he said. "But right now I'm just focused on finishing the year and getting the process started."
Rodriguez has his offseason planned. "Not so much rest, really train," he said. "I haven't been able to train in a long time because of the surgery. It's all about getting in shape, getting trimmer and coming back to do what I know I can do."