Saturday, January 31, 2015

Yankees Manager Girardi still on good terms with A-Rod

Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez's numerous off-the-field issues this offseason have certainly seemed to hurt his public image, but team Manager Joe Girardi apparently still gets along with him.

The 50-year-old Yankees skipper and Rodriguez still have a "good" relationship despite all that's happened with the latter over the last few months, Girardi said during an autograph signing Saturday. Rodriguez, coming off a 2014 season in which he never played due to a suspension for steroid use, has garnered attention this past week for he and the Yankees' disagreement over the veteran's home run bonuses, but Girardi maintains it isn't a problem that includes him. 

"I don't worry about that," Girardi told The New York Daily News' Justin Tasch. "My job is to put our team in the best postion every day to win a game. That's my job. I don't worry about contracts, I don't worry about bonuses for players, I don't want to know them. All I want to worry about is putting our guys in the best postion to win games."

Rodriguez's contract with the Yankees rewards him with $6 million bonuses each time he reaches a major home run milestone, but the Yankees no longer seem willing to give him the cash after his involvement in the recent biogenesis scandal. Rodriguez, who currently has 654 career home runs, will earn the first of those disputed payments with at least six long balls in 2015, an achievement that would tie him with Willie Mays for fourth all-time.

Whether Rodriguez is granted the money or not, though, it's a safe bet he will have to deal with an eager media when he returns to the diamond this April, something Girardi says he isn't that concerned about. 

"When hasn't there been a lot of attention around Alex when he's been in our clubhouse?" Girardi said. "It's gonna be a lot that we've dealt with and there will probably be some new things that maybe we've never seen before, but we'll deal with them and we'll get through it." 

The Yankees' first spring training game is scheduled for March 3 in Clearwater, Florida, the home of the Phillies. It's probable Rodriguez will see a decent amount of action next month as he prepares for his first Opening Day since 2012, and it's definite he will spend time at multiple positions. 

That's according to Girardi. 

"We're gonna DH him, we're gonna play him at third base and see where he's at there, and we'll talk about maybe playing him at first base a little bit," Girardi said. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)