Alex Rodriguez took his first big step toward physical recovery, but the steroids allegations surrounding him also are growing stronger.
Rodriguez, the New York Yankees' third baseman, is in Tampa as part of his rehabilitation from hip surgery. He participated in an extended spring training intrasquad game Thursday at the team's complex off Himes Avenue.
However, portions of Selena Roberts' upcoming book about Rodriguez were revealed Thursday morning, including quotes from a high school teammate accusing him of using steroids back then. Rodriguez, who has admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during a three-year period starting in 2001 with the Texas Rangers, would not address the newest allegations.
"I'm not going there," Rodriguez said. "I'm just so excited about being back on the field and playing baseball. My team has won two games up there and hopefully I can come back and help them win some more."
Rodriguez was 1-for-6 with two walks in the intrasquad game. On his sixth at-bat, in the third inning, Rodriguez sent Jose Ramirez's first pitch over the left-center field wall for a home run.
After the game, Rodriguez took extra batting practice and ran sprints before speaking with the media. Rodriguez was calm throughout his four-minute interview and said he was not concerned about allegations being raised again.
"Not really. I'm in a good place," Rodriguez said. "More importantly, physically I feel like I'm getting better every day. We've had a great week here."
Anwar S. Richardson