TAMPA — Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that when he last spoke with Alex Rodriguez on Saturday, the All-Star third baseman told him he "can't wait to start playing baseball."
Girardi said Rodriguez, who last week admitted to having used performance enhancing drugs from 2001-03, wants to get everything behind him. Another important step in what Girardi on Sunday called the "healing process" could come Tuesday, when Rodriguez is expected to report with the other position players and address the media.
"I'm really looking forward to getting beyond Tuesday," said Girardi, who plans to attend the media session with some players. "I think (the story) will linger a little, like Andy's did, in a sense, and maybe to a little larger magnitude,'' he added, referring to pitcher Andy Pettitte's admission in December 2007 that he used human growth hormone, a story that lasted into spring training.
"People will stay around for a little bit, but everyone can't stay around forever. There are other stories in the world."
Yankee camp has had plenty of story lines, with some flying under the A-Rod radar. There was the arrival of high-priced free-agent pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett; the rehab of catcher Jorge Posada, who continued his throwing program Sunday for his right shoulder, and pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, who threw a bullpen session and reported no pain in his right foot, which sidelined him for half of last season.
All are important to the Yankees' hopes of returning to the playoffs. But so is Rodriguez's mind-set, which is why Girardi plans to talk with him in person before Wednesday's first full-squad workout and monitor him during the season. It's why Girardi said it's important for Rodriguez's teammates to "show the unity of the club" by attending the news conference.
"I think it'd be uncomfortable for anybody," Girardi said. "Because it's not the situation you want to be in."
A-Rod apologizes: Selena Roberts told the Associated Press that Rodriguez called her Wednesday to apologize for critical comments he made about her during an ESPN interview. Roberts co-authored the Feb. 7 Sports Illustrated article that reported Rodriguez was among 104 players who tested positive for steroids during baseball's anonymous 2003 survey. She has also written a book about him that's due out in April.