TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez arrived Saturday morning for his second stint of spring training as a Yankees guest instructor.
This time he brought a guest. Jennifer Lopez, whom you may have heard is dating Rodriguez, took in Saturday afternoon’s game against the Orioles in a Steinbrenner Field suite.
Rodriguez, 41, a special adviser to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner this year as he collects the final $21 million owed on his contract, spent part of the game watching in the suite with J-Lo, and the pair left together around the sixth inning.
On his way out, Rodriguez stopped and chatted briefly with a group of students from Tampa Jesuit High School who approached him — he signed some autographs as well — while Lopez was seen by one observer as being a bit “cooler” toward them.
Before the game, A-Rod — who first came to camp in mid-February — watched batting practice and spoke with several players, including infielder Gleyber Torres, the organization’s top-rated prospect.
The 20-year-old Venezuelan tweeted a picture of himself with Rodriguez later in the day with the caption: “I appreciate everything you have done for me!@ARod”
A-Rod, who took about 20 of the organization’s top prospects to dinner in February, did not speak to reporters Saturday. But during his February visit, he said that what he had seen in camp was the most young talent he had seen with the club since he became a Yankee in 2004.
“This,” he said, “is a tremendous opportunity this franchise has in front of us.”
Just before camp opened, far too much was made of Steinbrenner’s statement that he “absolutely” would be open to an expanded role within the organization for Rodriguez. Few reported the follow-up when the owner was asked if he had anything in mind.
“Haven’t thought about it,” Steinbrenner replied. “He was down in instructional league working with those guys, the young shortstops. He was great, and right now that’s what he’s going to be focused on.”