If there was anything Alex Rodriguez learned last season, it was he still had the talent to play baseball at a competitive level. But unlike his teammate Mark Teixeira, Rodriguez says he doesn’t have plans to play five more years and this could very well be Rodriguez’s final Major League contract.
“I’m madly in love with the game of baseball, but I won’t be playing five more years,” Rodriguez said yesterday afternoon. “… At age 40 with two hip surgeries, I’m day to day. I plan to prepare hard and play as long as my body lets me.”
Rodriguez admitted that because he played so hard over the first half of the season, he started to decline during the second half of the season and he wants to pace himself this year.
“I ran out of gas in August,” he said. “My energy kind of picked up again in September, I just stunk. August, I was fatigued a little bit. September I felt great and played poorly, so one of the things I’ve adjusted going into 2016 is to kind of pace myself a little bit more and use spring training as a ramping instead of coming here ready to go Day 1, which I did last year.”
Along with Rodriguez discussing his excitement over this season, he also talked about the difference between this Spring and last Spring, advice for Aroldis Chapman and his relationships with his teammates and the front office, which have been sour over the last few years.
Rodriguez on this Spring and last Spring: “I’m in a good place. Last year was an extremely challenging situation to come into, a difficult one. I prepared tremendously hard, didn’t know what to expect, but look, I’m coming into this year and I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m very hungry to come back. I think it’s my 22nd or 23rd spring. I’m certainly enjoying it. I know 2015 for me was, in many ways, a Cinderella season, and I don’t take it for granted. To be able to wear a uniform at the age of 40, it’s pretty cool.”
Rodriguez on advice for Aroldis Chapman: “Obviously that’s a serious situation. Major League Baseball has a process, and we’re going to let that play out. As far as advice, I would say, for one, focus on your job on the field. It starts there. Two, focus on building great relationships in the locker room. The clubhouse is very important; have players to lean on. No. 3, any time any of us run into a challenging situation, it gives you an opportunity to look in the mirror and make some changes.”
Rodriguez on his relationship with his teammates…: “Look, it would be unnatural if there wasn’t some uncomfort (Rodriguez meant “discomfort”). I made that for myself. But certainly, once the season got started, come May or June, it felt like (it) was pretty normal. And keeping in touch with most of my teammates this offseason going into (spring training) was just a continuation of what we started last year. We have a special group, and we have good dynamics in the clubhouse. I’m excited to continue to work on that.”
…and his relationship with the front office: “I think it’s in a much better place. I know that I can speak first hand. I’ve had good communication with Cashman this offseason. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get back to playing baseball. Look, like I said, I have a lot more work to do. Like I said earlier, I’m only on first base. I got to keep going.”