Pete Rose insisted Tuesday he is a changed person even if he still likes to bet on an occasional baseball game.

Baseball's career hits leader said he was disappointed at not being allowed back in the game but held out hope he could still one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"It would be nice to have the opportunity to go to the Hall of Fame," Rose said. "My whole life has been a Hall of Fame life just by the association with the teammates I had."

At a news conference fronting his restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip, Rose said he couldn't rewrite history but still believes even at age 74 that he can one day be back in baseball. He said he was sorry for his mistakes of the past, which included betting on games while with the Cincinnati Reds.

Rose said he believes Rob Manfred will be a great commissioner, but that Manfred was put in a tough spot in having to rule on Rose's reinstatement 26 years into a lifetime ban. He also said his meeting with Manfred earlier this year — where he first denied still betting on baseball and then admitted he did — could have gone better.

"I'm a good guy, to be honest with you," Rose said. "I tried to be as honest as I could with the commissioner, but I made some mistakes and I clarified them. Some of his questions, though, I kind of panicked."

Rose was contrite and somewhat upbeat in offering his first comments since Manfred on Monday rejected his application for reinstatement. But he refused to be drawn into the debate of whether players linked to steroids should be allowed in the Hall of Fame when anyone on the permanently excluded list — Rose is currently the only living person on it — cannot be on a Hall of Fame ballot.

He also would not comment on Manfred's decision to keep him out of baseball partly because he still does gamble on baseball while at the same time Major League Baseball has a stake in the daily fantasy site DraftKings.

"You can make that evaluation. I'm not a DraftKings guy. I'm not an online guy," said Rose, who had 4,256 hits in a career that stretched from 1963-86. "I just try to have fun and live my life and have some enjoyable moments."

… Righthanded closer Tony Barnette agreed to a $3.5 million, two-year contract with the Rangers after six seasons in Japan. The 32-year-old had a team-record 41 saves and a 1.29 ERA in 59 games last season for the Yakult Swallows in Japan's Central League.

… Reliever Jerry Blevins is staying with the Mets, agreeing to a one-year contract that guarantees him $4 million and allows him to earn an additional $1 million in bonuses.

skiing

Shiffrin has torn ligament

Over the next few weeks, Mikaela Shiffrin will slalom between rest and rehab.

Usually so fast on a racecourse, the Olympic and world slalom champion is taking things at a much slower pace as she recovers from a torn knee ligament and painful bone bruise. There's no timetable for her return to skiing, either.

But there is some promising news: She won't need surgery. Just rest. Lots and lots of rest after tearing the medial collateral ligament in her right knee during a wipeout while preparing for a giant slalom Saturday in Are, Sweden.

"I know lots of people are anxious to predict when I might return to skiing and then racing, but we just don't have any crystal balls," Shiffrin said. "I will work as hard as possible, take it week by week."

Don't write off her return this season just yet. There's still a possibility the skier from Eagle-Vail, Colorado, returns to the slopes, maybe even for the World Cup Finals in March.

AROUND THE HORN

Figure skating: Olympic champion Evan Lysacek and contemporaries Sasha Cohen, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto made the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Soccer: The U.S. will play home exhibitions against Iceland on Jan. 31 and Canada on Feb. 5 as it prepares for World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala in March.

ASSOCIATED PRESS