Rodriguez during his rehab assignment on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old slugger is at it again, speaking to USA Today's Bob Nightengale on his allegiance to the Yankees, the progress of his rehab, his role in the Biogenesis of America clinic scandal currently sweeping through Major League Baseball and his relationship with teammate Derek Jeter.
Since his last extensive interview, he's been the centerpiece of the performance-enhancing drug scandal that was first reported by Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times and has yet to play a game in pinstripes during the 2013 season.
Most recently, he's been in the middle of a feud with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
A-Rod took to Twitter to announce the news of being given the "green light" to play games again, a revelation that did not sit well with team officials:
Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news - the green light to play games again! http://t.co/RuzfXOJjHI— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) June 25, 2013
After the tweet, Cashman had some choice words for Rodriguez about keeping his mouth shut. As chronicled by Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News, the pair have since hashed things out despite the initial feeling that the Yankees didn't want A-Rod back this season.
Rodriguez also fired back with words for those who think his days in the majors are over, per Nightengale:
I know people think I'm nuts. ... I know most people wouldn't want the confrontation. Most people would say, 'Get me out of here. Trade me. Do anything.' But I'm the (expletive) crazy man who goes, 'I want to compete. I want to stay in New York. I refuse to quit.'
Maybe it's stupidity, I don't know, but I'm wired to compete and give my best. I have a responsibility to be ready to play as soon as I can. ...You hear all of the doubters, and that just fuels me. They don't know me. I'm not giving up. I never will. I'm not wired that way.
A-Rod spoke to Nightengale about the Biogenesis/Tony Bosch scandal and feels that he's not being given a fair shake in the public eye:
Right now, we kind of got our hands tied. It's so hard and frustrating because we're in a world that you're guilty before being proven innocent. It's not supposed to (expletive) be that way. ... The easy thing would be to give up. But I didn't get to where I am by taking the (expletive) way out. I refuse to start now.
Rodriguez will be participating in his 20th season if and when he ever takes the field for the Yankees this year. He just started a rehab assignment for the club, completing a two-game stint with the Charleston RiverDogs:
A-Rod grounds out to second base in second at-bat, which ends his stay in Charleston. #Yankees— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 3, 2013
As noted by New York Daily News reporter Roger Rubin, A-Rod will join the Class-A Tampa Yankees on Friday.
If he does work his way back to the hot corner at Yankee Stadium, Rodriguez is vowing to turn over a new leaf:
I haven't played well for a long time. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm going to go out and hit 50 home runs, or any of that craziness. But I can be someone who can have a big impact in the middle of our lineup. And I relish that opportunity.
I love being a Yankee. I love being in New York. I never want to leave. ... It's just the biggest challenge to go out and compete at the highest level in New York. I love it. I look forward to the day I just get back. You just have to be accountable. ... I'm the first one to say last year that I stunk. It was a bloodbath. It's the (expletive) pink elephant in the room, I know I'm better than that.
Rodriguez is a three-time American League MVP. He also has a career batting average of .300 and ranks fifth on MLB's all-time home run list with 647.