February 15, 2009 / 11:14 PM / 11 years ago

Media frenzy awaits Rodriguez in Tampa

MIAMI (Reuters) - Embattled New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is expected to face a media frenzy next week when he is due to arrive at the team’s spring training camp in Tampa, Florida.

New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez speaks at ceremonies commemorating the naming of Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Florida February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Hans Deryk

According to Yankees manager Joe Girardi, the three-times American League MVP is scheduled to report with the rest of the club’s position players on Tuesday.

Should Rodriguez do so, he is likely to address the media en masse for the first time since his admission of doping last week.

In an interview with ESPN on Monday, the 33-year-old said he had used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-2003 when he played for the Texas Rangers.

His comments came in response to a report in Sports Illustrated that he had been one of 104 players who had tested positive in a confidential doping survey in 2003.

Rodriguez, who appeared publicly at a University of Miami event on Friday, can expect the support of team mates such as closer Mariano Rivera and veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte if he does speak to the media at the Yankees training camp.

“It was something that, to me, it’s the past,” Rivera told reporters on Saturday. “It’s not right, but it’s the past. You can do nothing about it. You can do nothing about what you did yesterday or 10 minutes ago.

MOVING ON

“You can learn from it and move on. We all make mistakes. The one thing that we have good is we support each other. I will support him and also the rest of the team mates, I hope.”

Veteran left-hander Pettitte promised his support for Rodriguez after arriving at the camp on Friday.

“I’m just going to try to help him as a team mate any way that I possibly can, to help him get through it,” said Pettitte, who has admitted he twice used human growth hormone in 2002 to try to accelerate recovery of an elbow injury.

“It’s a tough time for him right now going through it, I’m sure. But we’ll be here. The team’s going to be here. We’re going to support him. We’re like family in here.”

Pettitte was among more than 80 current and former baseball players named in the 2007 Mitchell Report as suspected users of performance-enhancing drugs.

The report was conducted by former Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell.

Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Miles Evans

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