If you had chalked up Alex Rodriguez having 20 home runs this season, over 3,000 career hits and over 650 career home runs despite a long absence from the game, then congratulations, you’re either psychic or you had unwavering confidence in Rodriguez’s abilities as an aging ball player!
Okay, so none of us really imagined Alex Rodriguez would show up at Spring Training and immediately fit into the middle of the lineup, especially since he’s been out of the game for over a year. But Rodriguez has silenced the critics and earned the support of the fans in his comeback season, and one person that’s been extremely impressed with Rodriguez’s turnaround is former Yankees skipper Joe Torre.
“I think what’s surprising is Alex. I’m happy for him. Miss a whole year at that age – there was never an issue of his ability to work at it. But with all the physical problems that he’s had and missing a year, it’s been, I think, remarkable how consistent he’s been and his power numbers,” Torre told the New York Daily News on Thursday while at a golf tournament.
Rodriguez and Torre’s relationship isn’t exactly like Torre’s relationship with Derek Jeter, but the two are on more friendlier terms now, especially after Rodriguez had called Torre following his suspension and offered an apology. When Rodriguez had asked Torre for advice, Torre told Rodriguez to just play baseball and so far it seems that’s exactly what Rodriguez is doing.
“He paid his debt. He was suspended. He did that. Hopefully he learned something from it. He’s been determined to come back and play the game that he’s loved. I know baseball’s been a huge part of his life. He just craves it,” Torre said. “He’s been a force, no question. People in New York love it. That’s what’s important for us. Once people pay their penalty, you can’t root against them. It’s not the right thing to do.”