Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A-Rod Talks Surgery, Teammates, Jorge and Bobby V. Comments

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This afternoon, Alex Rodriguez phoned into The Michael Kay Show on 1050 ESPN Radio, and answered questions from Kay on several topics. If you missed it, here are some interesting excerpts from the interview:

On the number of games he should play this season:

"It doesn't really matter what I say here in February or March. It doesn't really make a lot of sense for me to throw out any type of number. I've worked extremely hard [and] I'm preparing myself to go out there and put up a big number as far as games played and be very productive and help this team win."

On making adjustments due to his age:

"I think for me, I'm not lowering my expectations. You know...again, I've worked extremely hard and I think I'm in great shape and ready to go for a great season. I'm not lowering my expectations, that's for sure. The one thing, you wanna go in and put up the big numbers with games played and, you know, let the chips fall where they may."

On the orthokine treatment:

"I feel good. I talked to Kobe [Bryant] [and] he raved about the procedure. You know, I respect Kobe a lot and [when] someone of his stature endorses something like this that can be beneficial to me physically, I felt it was worth taking a look at it. I'm very happy with the outcome so far"

On Bobby Valentine's comments about his "fight" with Jason Varitek:

"I didn't actually read the whole thing. You know...I think it's important to know that the reason why everyone cares so much about this rivalry is because for a long time, both teams have contended for a championship. If both teams were losing games, no one would really care. It's because they have great players, great management and that's why they care. It's not for anything anybody says off the field."

On Varitek not taking his mask off:

"I don't remember that {laughing}."

On Michael Pineda:

"Electric stuff. I remember talking to some of the guys and we just looked at each other and said, 'Wow!' You know, this kid has all the potential in the world. When Cashman makes a move like makes you feel like a little kid again; it reminds you of why it feels great to be a New York Yankee and play for this great organization. I remember calling CC [Sabathia] and [Mark Teixeira] and half a dozen of my teamamtes, and celebrating getting such a great arm."

On Raul Ibanez:

"Raul and I were 1994 and I was in Wisconsin in A-ball. I hit third and he hit fourth and, you know, Raul is one of the greatest...classiest human beings you've ever met right there in the line of Mariano Rivera. This guy is...unbelievable. He gets to the stadium at 6:30 in the morning and I think I left [there] an hour ago, and he was still there. And he looked in the mirror and he said, 'Alex, can you believe I'm wearing this uniform? It's surreal, I still can't believe it.' Here's a guy that's played north of twelve years and feels like a rookie."

On AJ Burnett:

"Well, I respect AJ. [He's] a good friend, and I mainly want to thank him for helping us win a championship in 2009. He is a great competitor, he has great stuff and not only me, but all his teammmates...we wish him the best."

On the absence of Jorge Posada:

"You know, what Jorgie brought to this team was very unique. Besides being one of the greatest switch-hitting catchers of all time, he was a fierce leader for us. No one is going to ...replace that. I think other players are going to have to come in and step up their game.

"One thing for me, he belongs up there with the Yankee greats, and that's a tough group to crack."

 On A-Rod seeing the end of his career:

"You can always see the end. It's inevitable. You wish the game can go on forever, but it doesn't; we're sort of on borrowed time. I think all of us who are kind of in the seventh inning or the fourth quarter of our careers, we're cherishing the game more and more each and every day."

On talking Mariano Rivera out of retirement:

"Like I said, no one plays forever. Selfishly, I want Mo to play for a long time. The one thing about Mo, everyone calls him the best reliever of all time, but very easily, he could be the best pitcher of all time.

"What's overshadowed is what he [brings] to the clubhouse. Mariano for me, has been such a rock. I think it's even more impressive what he does in the clubhouse than what he does on the mound."

On Robinson Cano hitting third in the lineup:

"I think Robbie is in a very special place in his career. I think the sky is the limit for him. If he gets in a position where he's comfortable hitting in that third spot, and add probably 50 or 60 at-bats, he can get in a groove where he can do some very special things. And without a question, he's going to be the main ingredient of what we do here in the next three to four years."

On whether the Yankees actually practice the play where Derek Jeter makes the "flip:"

"Absolutely. I can't really explain it because that's the shortstop's responsibility. But when Derek is on [here], he'll explain it to you {laughing}. We probably practiced it eight or ten times today."

(Interview courtesy of The Michael Kay Show, 1050 ESPN Radio)

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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