Embattled star Alex Rodriguez says he ready to rejoin Yanks, is 'excited to play Monday'

  • Article by: ROB MAADDI , AP Sports Writers
  • Updated: August 3, 2013 - 10:15 PM

TRENTON, N.J. — Alex Rodriguez brushed aside any worries about a pending suspension, saying he's headed to Chicago and plans to play for the New York Yankees on Monday night.

"I'm excited to play Monday," the star third baseman said after drawing four straight walks with Double-A Trenton on Saturday night. "I can't wait to see my teammates. I feel like I can help them win."

Rodriguez said he would work out Sunday — no one disclosed the site — and then travel to Chicago, where the Yankees will open a three-game series with the White Sox on Monday.

No matter what else happens?

"I'm flying to Chicago," he said.

Major League Baseball and the Yankees turned down requests Saturday to meet with Rodriguez's camp and the union about the embattled star's expected drug penalty, two people familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.

The overtures were made two days before MLB was poised to hand Rodriguez a lengthy suspension for his part in the Biogenesis case. The two people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

"I've been on the field the last 5½ hours. I haven't seen or heard anything," Rodriguez said. "My focus has been on baseball. As far as any of that stuff, I'll let those guys take care of what they need to take care of."

Before Rodriguez took the field, his side reached out to the Yankees and union head Michael Weiner contacted MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred. The Yankees and MLB said they had no interest in such talks.

There was always the chance, however, that further negotiations could take place at the last minute.

"I'll have an opportunity, when the time is right, to tell my full story," Rodriguez said.

The New York Post, Daily News and New York Times reported the discussions earlier Saturday.

There hasn't been any definite word on the severity of Rodriguez's looming penalty, with speculation ranging from a lifetime ban to a suspension through the 2014 season.

Also possible, according to those familiar with the talks, was a suspension lasting until Aug. 31, 2014, the day before all teams are permitted to expand their rosters from 25 players to 40.

The 38-year-old Rodriguez hasn't played in the majors this season. The three-time American League MVP is recovering from hip surgery and a strained quadriceps.

A day after Rodriguez homered for Trenton, Thunder manager Tony Franklin hedged on whether A-Rod was ready to rejoin the majors.

"That's not for me to say," Franklin said. "His swing is getting better. He's running better. He's doing the baseball things OK right now. But that's a different game up there."

"I think he can handle it because he's been there for a number of years," he said. "I don't think he'll be surprised by anything on the baseball field despite what's going on now. He's been one of the best baseball players I have ever seen. Once they decide he's ready to go back, I don't think he'll have any trouble adapting at all."

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