Alex Rodriguez vows to be 'shutting down' non-baseball talk
Alex Rodriguez, embroiled in a media firestorm for the past week, announced a cease-fire Wednesday by saying that his camp is "shutting down" any talk not involving baseball for the immediate future.
A-Rod declared those intentions from the top of the dugout steps as the Yankees took batting practice before Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays. Rodriguez was not in the lineup as Joe Girardi chose to rest him after playing both ends of Tuesday's doubleheader, and it appears A-Rod finally is ready to give the rhetoric some time off as well.
"That's behind us now and I've shut everything down," Rodriguez said. "I think it's the most important thing for us now -- out of respect to my team, my manager and my coaches. We're in the middle of a very important pennant race. We're playing pretty well right now and we want to keep the focus on the field. Publicly, I want everything to be 100 percent about baseball."
The abrupt shift in strategy comes after Rodriguez's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, was the target of Monday's surprise attack by Matt Lauer on the set of the "Today" show. Lauer handed Tacopina a two-page letter that served as a confidentiality waiver from Major League Baseball, which challenged the lawyer to sign the document on live TV.
Tacopina passed, correctly citing the need for the players union to be involved in any such waiver. But after MLB said that could be arranged, Tacopina still refused to sign the letter, calling it a "theatrical trap." He did pledge to draft a revised letter to send back to the commissioner's office, but that plan appears to be on hold now in the wake of Rodriguez's public stance Wednesday.
None of the fighting seemed to bother Rodriguez, who rallied the team Sunday night with a spectacular home run off Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster, who drilled him on the elbow earlier in the game.
When asked Wednesday if it had been difficult to concentrate on baseball lately, A-Rod preferred to look forward.
"The past is the past," he said. "Right now, the most important thing, is our first playoff game starts tonight, and every game is important. The playoffs are what we're thinking about right now. That's the reason why I shut everything down."
For now, Team Rodriguez has switched into detente mode. But as a source connected with the A-Rod camp explained, this remains subject to change depending on what else surfaces in the days ahead.
Sources said that Rodriguez's camp is in the process of filing a grievance with the union and also is preparing a medical malpractice suit against Yankees physician Christopher Ahmad.
Rodriguez's announcement Wednesday doesn't change any of his pending legal action against the Yankees. It just means that neither A-Rod or his legal team will be talking about it publicly.
"Not with this new approach we have right now," Rodriguez said. "We really want to just focus on playing good baseball -- and 100 percent that all the questions be about baseball. If there's any questions in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment."
After those statements, Rodriguez allowed one more question that walked the line between baseball and his PED persecution. What did he think of Dempster getting a five-game suspension for hitting him?
"I got nothing to do with that," Rodriguez said. "Like I told you guys in Boston, I'm the wrong guy to be asking about that."