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Alex Rodriguez heads into offseason with a healthy state of mind

New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez during warmups prior

New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez during warmups prior to Game 2 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesay, Oct. 28, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Alex Rodriguez already has his ideal 2016 season in mind.

"Hopefully next year I start slow and finish strong," the Yankees designated hitter said with a smile Wednesday night.

A-Rod, speaking before The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter's 21st Annual Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit at the Marriott Marquis, where he, Paul O'Neill and Jorge Posada were honored, did the opposite in 2015.

The 40-year-old surpassed most of the preseason expectations set for him, hitting 33 homers and driving in 86 runs. He put up a .250/.356/.486 slash line in 151 games, the vast majority of them as the club's designated hitter.

But, like the rest of the Yankees' offense, he faltered down the stretch. The last two months of the season, comprising 56 games, A-Rod hit nine homers and drove in 25 runs with a .191/.300/.377 slash line.

Rodriguez stressed physically he was fine, no small thing for a player who, before serving his 2014 suspension, had spent time on the DL each of the previous five seasons.

"I feel good, I could have kept going," Rodriguez said. "I think DH was a big asset for me. I think this offseason I have a lot more information of what's needed from me and hopefully I can build on what I started last year."

Rodriguez, who served as an analyst for Fox during the ALCS and World Series, did not offer his thoughts on what the Yankees most need this winter, though he indicated his club, which lost in the AL wild-card game, is not that far away.

"I thought the boys played hard this year, I thought we did a really nice job," he said. "I'm really excited about the young players we're developing. Like the Mets, we have a great nucleus of core young players, all under the age of 26, 27, so kudos to our management for putting that together and I'm just looking forward to spring training."

Rodriguez said he was excited to work again with Alan Cockrell, the assistant hitting coach last season under Jeff Pentland who moves into the big chair this season. Marcus Thames, a teammate of A-Rod's with the 2010 Yankees, will be Cockrell's assistant.

"Alan was great," Rodriguez said. "Great energy. A real student of the game, a real good communicator with our young players. I'm happy for him and Marcus, I think they're going to make a really good team."

As for the Mets, A-Rod wasn't quite prepared to say they're ready to take over New York like they did in the mid to late-80's, but he came away impressed with their World Series run.

"Look, I said it [before], they're no surprise," he said. "They have the goods and it all starts with power pitching, and they have four great pitchers and they have another one coming back. That makes five great power pitchers. In this era, it's hard to have that type of collection of arms."

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