A-Rod focused as 'real season starts now'

A-Rod focused as 'real season starts now'

A-Rod focused as 'real season starts now'
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez grades his season as "incomplete," left to wonder what might have been if a Felix Hernandez fastball hadn't shattered his left hand with a pitch back on July 24 at Safeco Field.

Then again, if Rodriguez is able to slip his second World Series ring on at the end of this month, he won't be spending much of his offseason fretting about the past.

"When I got hit, it was a freaky injury," Rodriguez said. "I thought I was swinging the bat extremely well in Seattle, and the team was playing extraordinarily well. Freaky things happen.

"The bottom line is whether you hit 50 home runs or five home runs, it's all water under the bridge right now. Our real season starts now, and I have an opportunity to help the team win and be a big part of it."

It promises to be an interesting postseason for Rodriguez -- aren't they all? -- as he has yielded standing as the most dangerous hitter in the Yankees' lineup to Robinson Cano, who figures to be the name opposing managers will swear not to let beat them.

"It's fun to watch," Rodriguez said. "Robbie, the last 11 or 12 days, has been world class. I've never seen him play at a higher level. He's just a phenomenal talent. He's kind of maturing right in front of our eyes, going from being a star player to a rock star, superstar kind of player."

Rodriguez has been there before, but glimpses of his three-time American League MVP have been harder to come by. He finished the year hitting .272 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs in 122 games; he and the Yankees would happily flush those numbers in favor of a monster postseason.

"Once you get one [World Series ring], obviously No. 2 is the only goal and objective," Rodriguez said. "Especially at this point in my career, you get judged by winning games; that's the only column that really works around here. By being part of a championship team, you can get a pass for not reaching personal goals, which I don't believe in those."