Yankees ownership concerned about Alex Rodriguez PED situation
Related mediaA-Rod's ups and downs as a Yankee The many faces of Alex Rodriguez Tainted MLB players Alex Rodriguez's injury history A-Rod's career home runs Vote: MLB deals
But he did use a word sure to reverberate for a bit.
"It's a concern," the team's managing general partner said early Friday afternoon, "but it's out of our hands. We'll cooperate with MLB in any way we can, in any way we're asked to, but other than that, there's not much to say. I don't know any more than you do."
A report in the Miami New Times on Jan. 29 alleged that the Yankees' third baseman, who is recovering from hip surgery and is expected to miss at least half the season, purchased PEDs from a South Florida anti-aging clinic from 2009 into last season.
Major League Baseball is investigating the clinic, Biogenesis -- which is now closed -- and its connection to numerous baseball players, a group that includes A-Rod, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and Bartolo Colon.
Rodriguez is owed $114 million over the next five years, a contract the Yankees very much would like to get out of.
But even if MLB determines that Rodriguez used PEDs -- through a spokesman, he has vehemently denied the allegations -- the Yankees won't be able to discipline him, per the Joint Drug Agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association.
And even if he is found to have used PEDs, few experts see a path for the Yankees to get an early termination of the contract.
Steinbrenner didn't address any of that Friday, but he did expound on several other topics in an impromptu meeting with reporters outside the team's minor-league complex.
Among them was the rather harsh criticism the team has received for its perceived inactivity this offseason. Because he ultimately is the one who signs the paychecks and gives general manager Brian Cashman his operating budget, the critique reflects on Steinbrenner.
"Does it bother me when we're portrayed as seeming like we haven't done anything in the offseason when we've signed three or four of the top free agents?" he said.
He didn't immediately answer the rhetorical question.
"Just because they happened to be with us last year, a lot of people assume that they're going to be back and we're going to get them back, but it's not always easy. There's other teams involved," he said. "So I think we had some good signings and I think we did our fair share in the offseason.
"Similar payroll to last year [in the range of $209 million] shows we want to win. So that [criticism] was a little disappointing. But as far as the acquisitions themselves, whatever criticism there was, that doesn't bother me because I know they were the right moves."
Pettitte, 41, and Rivera, 43, were never thought to be considering playing for anyone but the Yankees. Kuroda, 38, had other suitors, such as the Dodgers and Red Sox.
Steinbrenner knows the charge has been lobbed that the Yankees are too old, but it's one of the things he said he likes about the 2013 club.
"I think the one thing we get criticized for a lot is one of the things -- assuming we can stay away from injuries -- I do like is the age, I like the experience," he said.
But the concern, as he said, is staying injury-free.
"There's no doubt we have some older players, and older players are usually more prone to injuries than others so . . . that's always a concern, but I like our team," Steinbrenner said. "We definitely have a championship-caliber team. But where we end up in October is anybody's guess."