MLB Spring Training 2012: Yankees' Alex Rodriguez Makes Changes This Year

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIMarch 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees readies on defense at third base against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has made some changes for the 2012 spring training season, and has decided to go with a less-is-more approach.

His physical training and conditioning program has been altered, which has positively altered his mental outlook on his attitude.

The changes that he has made appear to have started to work. On his first pitch that he saw on Sunday in the Grapefruit League against Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, he smashed a home run over the Tampa Bay Lightning sign in right field.

Rodriguez continued to produce in that game, adding an RBI double and a single.

He said that he felt lucky about the home run because it was only the first inning and Halladay had not had a chance to warm up yet.

Rodriguez has placed the emphasis this year on his health and how his body feels. He said that he is focused on the intangibles, such as range of motion and flexibility.

He had a disappointing 2011 season, having to settle for career lows in runs, hits, home runs and RBI, largely due to recurring injuries.

His goal for 2012, and Joe Girardi's goal for him, is to simply remain healthy. Rodriguez reported immediately after the game on Sunday to the workout facility at Steinbrenner Field to work with strength and conditioning coach Dana Cavalea.

Girardi's plan until later in the month is to play Rodriguez every other day and to get him 50-to-60 at-bats during spring training.

Much has been discussed regarding Rodriguez's trip to Germany for experimental treatment for his right knee and left shoulder, as well as his issues with his right hip that required surgery.

All appears to be well with those issues, although it may be too early to know for sure. For now, Rodriguez seems to be healthy, and it reflects in his attitude.

If his spring training continues to go well and he doesn't experience any problems, 2012 may be his comeback season. Time will tell.