Alex Rodriguez on best behavior in chat with reporters
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez opted for talking instead of tweeting Saturday, granting a 101-second interview not likely to elicit any heat from Yankees brass.
Speaking from his black Maybach 57S in the parking lot of the club's Tampa headquarters, Rodriguez said through the passenger-side window that his relationship with the club and his ongoing rehab from hip surgery are fine.
"Absolutely,'' Rodriguez told four reporters when asked if he and the Yankees are OK. "Ready to get back on the field. All good.''
They were Rodriguez's first in-person comments since Tuesday, when he tweeted that Dr. Bryan Kelly -- who operated on his left hip in January -- had cleared him to play games.
The tweet prompted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to tell ESPN New York that Rodriguez "should just shut the ---- up.'' An ensuing conference call Wednesday among Rodriguez, Cashman and team president Randy Levine reportedly went over a bit better.
On Saturday, Rodriguez's optimism was as thick as the central Florida humidity.
"I feel great,'' he said. "I'm having fun; it's exciting to be back on the field. It's been nice and hot down here for all of us. I just can't wait to get back. I'm feeling pretty darn good.''
With showers periodically pummeling Tampa on Saturday, Rodriguez and rehabbing shortstop Eduardo Nuñez (oblique) took batting practice in an indoor cage at Steinbrenner Field, across the street from the minor-league complex.
Earlier that morning, Derek Jeter managed a hit in a handful of simulated at-bats against Yankees farmhands at Steinbrenner Field. He also took grounders and ran at a brisk pace on the grass between first and third base. Jeter didn't speak to reporters.
On Friday, Rodriguez spent roughly three hours at the Tampa complex, taking batting practice and simulated at-bats, fielding grounders, running the bases and sliding.
"I feel like my swing is definitely getting back to form,'' Rodriguez said Saturday. "I hit a ball to right-center the other day that, man, I couldn't hit a ball like that, you know, I think last year to save my life. So it's getting better.''
Rodriguez offered no timetable for his return to the Yankees and cut the interview short before he could be asked about Major League Baseball's Biogenesis probe in which he has been implicated.
"So far, no issues [with rehab],'' he said. "I'm just working really hard; we have a great staff down here. They've been doing a great job with all of us. I just can't wait to get back on the field to help my team win.''