TAMPA — Yankees general manager Brian Cashman called Alex Rodriguez's admission he used performance-enhancing drugs a "necessary" and "important" first step.
Cashman said the club will continue to support and help Rodriguez in his "crisis" as they try to get the focus back on the field.
But Cashman, addressing the media at the team's minor league complex, wasn't ready to say he was confident that Rodriguez was clean during his Yankee years. In talking about the game in general, he said, "I'm not confident about anything in the past anymore."
Rodriguez said in an interview with ESPN Monday that he hasn't used performance enhancing drugs since he joined the Yankees, and has been tested several times during that time.
"From (2004) on, we've had the testing procedures in place — that's the best I can go off of," Cashman said. "I'm not here to represent that I'm confident about anything of anybody. I think we've lived through a tough stretch that shattered that confidence level. If you asked me that question five years ago, I'd be giving you a different answer. But I've been educated quite a bit, unfortunately, over this course of time. So I'm not gonna maybe make the same mistakes I've made in the past … so I'll give you a blanket, 'I'm not confident about anything in the past anymore.' ''
Asked if he knew then what he now knows about Rodriguez, would he have re-signed the All-Star third baseman, Cashman said, "you can't take us back that way."
Cashman declined comment on whether he's concerned Rodriguez could face penalties from the commissioner: "What will be, will be," he said.
Cashman also said he doesn't plan to ask any of his other players if they were part of that confidential list of players who tested positive, saying he feels that list should remain anonymous, as it was designed.
Cashman said Rodriguez will likely address the issue when he reports to camp. Position players are due Tuesday, but Rodriguez could report earlier since he's playing in the World Baseball Classic.
"I know it's not going to leave us," Cashman said. "I know it's not like we can run from it. We just have to run toward it and deal with it."