BRADENTON, Fla. - Francisco Cervelli says there are no hard feelings.
Not for the Yankees, who traded him during the offseason, nor for Alex Rodriguez, whom many suspect is the reason the Pirates catcher got entangled with and suspended for his involvement with Biogenesis.
Latest Yankees stories
Will he talk to Rodriguez before Friday night's game against the Yankees at Steinbrenner Field? "Why not?" Cervelli said. "I don't have any problems with him."
But few believe Cervelli and A-Rod, who mentored the catcher when he first came up with the Yankees, are nearly as close as they once were.
"He taught me so many things when I got to the Yankees, so many positive things about the game," Cervelli said. "But that's it. I haven't talked to him [recently]."
Cervelli was among those suspended for 50 games in August 2013, and a "60 Minutes" story later that month said A-Rod and those representing him leaked documents to investigators that implicated other players, including Cervelli.
Does Cervelli, 28, still consider Rodriguez a friend? "He was my teammate and that's it, but I haven't talked to him," Cervelli said. "I worry about myself and my teammates and that's it. 2013 was a nightmare and I learned so many things from that and it won't happen anymore. Guaranteed."
He said he has no bitterness toward the Yankees, who signed him as an amateur free agent in 2003, for dealing him. "I think the Yankees," Cervelli said, "was the best thing that ever happened in my life."
Another start for A-Rod
Rodriguez is slated to make his second start of spring training Friday night, likely at DH, though Joe Girardi has left open a slight possibility that he will play the field. A-Rod worked out at Steinbrenner Field Thursday, doing infield work and taking batting practice.
All involved have said getting Rodriguez plenty of at-bats in spring training is paramount, and Girardi said the 39-year-old is likely to play in back-to-back home games against Boston and Atlanta on Wednesday and Thursday. Girardi said he wouldn't rule out having A-Rod play in all four home games next week.
As for the "distraction" issue, a common topic during this camp, Girardi said A-Rod's presence has made it "easier on 90 percent of the people in the clubhouse" because they've been able to go on with their work in near anonymity.
"He made it easier on me one day," Girardi said, laughing. "Alex was hitting at the minor-league facility and there were [only four reporters] in here after practice."
Righthander Esmil Rogers, a candidate to occupy a spot in the rotation or make the team as the long man, made his exhibition debut against the Pirates and allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.
"They gave me a great opportunity," said Rogers, acquired by the Yankees during last season and re-signed by them during the offseason. "I have to do my best to keep it."
Righty-hitting outfield prospect Tyler Austin snapped a tie at 1 with a monstrous homer off righty reliever Deolis Guerra in the eighth inning. It cleared the canopy atop the bleachers in left-center, leaving the stadium entirely.