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Sports

April 2, 2013

Rodriguez calls return 'a great challenge'

(Continued)

He thinks that if the left hip had been tested then and the injury detected, he would not have been judged so harshly in October.

“Hindsight is always 20-20,” he said. “Obviously, if I would have, we would have never had that very tough ending, that’s for sure. Live and learn.”

Even though he was at Yankee Stadium, he opted against taking part in the pregame introductions.

“I don’t need to be introduced to feel like I’m part of this team,” he said. “When I get introduced, I want to be on the field and not look back.”

Once viewed as having a good chance of breaking Barry Bonds’ record of 762 home runs, Rodriguez remains stuck at 647. His image was tarnished when he admitted in 2009 that he used performing-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. New Times reported in January it had obtained files showing Rodriguez bought banned substances from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., run by Anthony Bosch. Rodriguez issued a statement then denying he had any relationship with Bosch.

Rodriguez said Monday he had met with the Major League Baseball Players Association to discuss Biogenesis. He said he stood by the denial he issued in January through a spokesman and when asked whether he was worried about the possibility of a suspension, said he wasn’t concerned about the Major League Baseball probe.

“At some point I feel everything will be good,” he said.

In the meantime, he works at his rehab. Rodriguez said he stayed away from spring training because Kelley wanted to see him on a regular basis.

Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes are all starting the season on the disabled list. Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez left to sign elsewhere. Many are predicting a down year for the Yankees, who have reached the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 seasons.

“I think this year, we have a very special opportunity,” Rodriguez said. “This is my 10th year here in New York. It’s the first time we’ve been predicted to finish in last place, which I think is pretty crazy. So that’s exciting. It’s a year of opportunity. It’s a year of opportunity for our team. It’s a year of opportunity for me.”

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