Alex Rodriguez played in only 99 games last season due to injury. That is the lowest amount of games A-Rod has played in since 1995. Rodriguez claims to have taken Kobe Bryant’s advice and went to Germany for a version of plasma-rich platelet therapy to help rehab his knee. No.13 is feeling good again and was surprised when the press was jumping all over him regarding some comments that Bobby Valentine made this week about the Yankees.
Rodriguez has gotten smarter over the years and has really elected to stay out of the way of others who want to open their mouths. He has no issue with Valentine’s comments, but wants to let it be known that the Yankees aren’t focused on what anyone has to say off the field. The new Red Sox manager can chirp all he wants to get the press going, but the Yanks don’t seem to be taking the bait at this point. Alex Rodriguez joined ESPN New York with The Michael Kay Show to discuss his first reaction to Bobby Valentine’s comments about the fight between himself and Jason Varitek, Bobby Valentine spicing up the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, Jason Varitek leaving his mask on during their fight, the Yankees practicing the Derek Jeter flip play that occured in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS, the amount of respect he has for Jason Varitek and talking with Jason Varitek after the fight occurred.
What’s your take on what Bobby V said about you and Jason Varitek?
“I didn’t read the whole thing Michael. I mean I think it is important to know this: I think the reason why everyone cares so much about this rivalry is because for a long time both teams contended for a championship. If those teams were losing 100 games nobody would really care, but it’s because they have great players, great managers, great management. That is why they care. It’s not for anything anybody says off the field. Like I said earlier today, Michael you weren’t there, but I’ve hired a new press secretary and his name is Reggie Jackson, so he’ll be happy to give you some sterns responses when he arrives to camp later on.”
Do you think Bobby Valentine spices up this rivalry? Did you think the rivalry needed some spicing up?
“I’ve really learned to stay in my lane and really stay in my circle. I now stay in my circle of confidence and it’s getting smaller each day.”
When Jason Varitek had the fight with you he didn’t take his mask off? Shouldn’t he have taken the mask off? It isn’t fair right?
“You know I can’t even remember that I gotta tell you. Michael you and I may have to take some MMA classes.”
Did the Yankees actually practice the play where Derek Jeter made the flip? Does he actually do that?
“Absolutely. [Kay: How does that work? Why is he in that spot?] Well I can’t really explain it because that’s the shortstops responsibility, but when you have Derek on he will explain it to you. I will tell you this we actually practiced it. We practiced it today and yeah we probably practiced it 8 or 10 times today.”
You don’t want to say that you could have beaten up Jason Varitek if the mask was off or anything like that?
“[Laughs] [Kay: Did you like Jason Varitek as a player?] I loved him. I loved him. I thought he was one of the best game callers and generals that I ever played against. He was obviously the captain for a reason and he brought them 2 World Championships. He was one of the main reasons, the catalysts, of why they were World Champs.”
Did you guys ever talk about the incident after it happened?
“Yeah. We were cool. We actually went after that and represented the United States in the World Games and that’s part of competition. That’s what makes the games, the rivalries, so great.”