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Alex Rodriguez not in lineup, expresses thanks to fans

Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees walks back to

Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees walks back to the dugout after striking out in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. (Aug. 9, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Alex Rodriguez did not speak to reporters Friday night after his 2013 Yankee Stadium debut but he did hold court about 2½ hours before Saturday's game - in which he was not scheduled to play - and expressed gratitude to fans for what he called "an amazing experience,'' despite the fact cheers were mixed with significant booing.

A transcript of his remarks:

On the fan response Friday night: "It was awesome. I mean, it was an amazing experience. The fans are incredible. There was such great energy and such a great response. It was pretty overwhelming. I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check."

On how it compared to what he expected: "I mean, so much better than I would have even dreamed of. I just felt the love walking around the city, the way people are treating me - pretty incredible. This city is the greatest city in the world."

On mixed response from the crowd, which included plenty of boos: "For the last 14 years there's always been a mix. Do you ever get 100 percent of anything? Even in Chicago it was a mix. Boston's going to be a mix. Well, maybe in Boston there's no mix in Boston. But I was overwhelmed. Yesterday was a day I'll never forget.''

On how the response compared to his worst fears: "I don't know about worst fears. You don't think about it much, but there were 50,000 here yesterday, 45,000, whatever it was. It was just pretty incredible. New York is the greatest city in the world and they show up and give you that type of support. And I'm getting it from all the players, obviously not only on this team but other teams. It's kind of a different place to get that type of support.''

On how he feels at the plate: "The first three games I felt pretty darn good. Yesterday Porcello had some nasty sinkers. I think after 10 or 12 games I'll get a better feel for where I'm at. The big thing for me is kind of getting my legs under me. I remember the second or third game in Chicago the last three or four innings my legs were not under me.''

On whether he was surprised to be removed for defense: "No, I think he has a plan. Remember for me it's somewhere in the middle of March. You play these games in the minor leagues and even if you play seven or eight innings in the minor leagues those are quick games. You're done by 9 o'clock, 9 :15. That's like the bottom of the fourth here. He has a plan. I trust Joe, and he's going to do the best for me and for the team.''

On whether he knows Joe's plan: "No, but I have an idea and I have great communication and great trust and respect for him and he's going to manage it.''

On struggles against righties: "I've only had four at-bats. I think after you take 50 or 60 or 70 at-bats against righties you can have a sample for that and see where we're at . . . It's not a big enough sample.''

On whether team has disciplined him: "No, it has not happened. Maybe they sent it to my lawyers, but I'm not really going to talk about that.''

On getting through two milestones: "I thought there was going to be two opening days, one in Chicago and one last night, and the good news for last night is I had a tough night at the plate but the good news for us is we came back and won. The last two days I thought the team has showed a lot of fight and the last two nights we could have easily scored seven, eight, nine runs. We keep putting oursevels in position to get the big hit. I think we will. I think the other day we drew something like seven or eight walks, got eight or nine hits. That's usually a form of eight or nine runs. Hopefully that follows.''

On Cabrera: "The guy is amazing. That was a joke. Everyone thought he was dead. It was like the movies; you have to shoot him and make sure he's dead. I knew he wasn't coming out of the game. Don't fall for all that limping around. He's a dangerous guy."

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