A-Rod calls Torre reunion 'business as usual'

A-Rod calls Torre reunion 'business as usual'

PHOENIX -- Many of the Yankees have been looking ahead to this weekend since the schedule was released, knowing this will be their first opportunity to look into the opposing dugout and see Joe Torre dressed head to toe in Dodgers blue.

Yet on an afternoon when all of the active members of Torre's last championship team glowed about his influence as a father figure, Alex Rodriguez hinted that all might not have been forgiven from their rocky time together in pinstripes. Rodriguez struck a hollow note, calling it "business as usual" to see Torre.

"I'm excited just to play a great team," Rodriguez said. "They've got a good team, and this is actually the part of Interleague that I do enjoy. I don't enjoy the [National League] East version; we see those guys way too often.

"As far as Interleague, this is really when the fans get a great treat. You can see how excited fans are here in Arizona, and I'm sure they're going to be very excited in L.A. I'm sure they've been promoting this great series for over six or eight months."

Rodriguez was much more enthusiastic in discussing the renewal of acquaintances with Dodgers coaches Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa, both of whom served on Torre's Yankees coaching staffs.

"You can't say enough great things about Donnie," Rodriguez said. "He was a class act and always really, really good to me. Bowa obviously left a mark on me as a player -- I had him [as a coach] in Seattle and then back in New York. He's taught me a lot about the game, and I know that Robbie [Cano] feels the same way. I'm excited to see those guys."

Mattingly was the Yankees' hitting coach from 2004-06, when he was promoted to become Torre's bench coach. Mattingly interviewed for the Yankees' managerial vacancy after '07, but when the job was offered to Joe Girardi, Mattingly headed west to serve as Torre's trusted lieutenant -- and wait for another managerial opportunity.

"There's no question Donnie can do whatever he wants in baseball -- coach, manage, general manager, front office," Rodriguez said. "He's just got a perfect demeanor, full of information, great knowledge. He was one of my role models growing up. He played the game the way every young child should want to play the game. I wish him well. I think he's in line and primed to get a great managing job this year."

A reporter then attempted to steer the line of questioning back to the original topic, asking how Torre's influence on Rodriguez compared to that of Lou Piniella, whom Rodriguez has spoken highly of from their time together in Seattle.

But Rodriguez made it clear he was not interested in fielding inquiries about Torre, who batted the slugger eighth in Game 4 of the 2006 American League Division Series in Detroit and was critical of Rodriguez in his book "The Yankee Years."

"I don't want any more of those questions," Rodriguez said. "Any more questions about anything else? No, I'm not going to get into that."