Alex Rodriguez made his first public comments Wednesday since the arbitration decision that resulted in him being suspended for the entire 2014 season, saying the year-long ban will give him a chance to "rest mentally and physically" and "begin a new chapter of my life."
Speaking in Spanish at a news conference to open a gym in Mexico City, Rodriguez told reporters he wouldn't address his suspension or the lawsuits his lawyers filed this week against Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association. But he did discuss his future.
"I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I've played 20 years without a timeout," Rodriguez said, according to a video aired by ESPN. "I think 2014 will be a year to rest mentally and physically prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter of my life."
Rodriguez reminded the media in Mexico that he will have three years remaining on his contract when he's eligible to return in 2015, and he hopes "to play very well and finish my career in New York."
Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on Saturday lowered Rodriguez's suspension, originally handed down in August, from the 211 games issued by MLB to 162 games plus the 2014 postseason, ruling that there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Rodriguez had used three banned substances numerous times and attempted to interfere with MLB's Biogenesis investigation. Rodriguez responded Monday with a lawsuit against MLB and the MLBPA.
Rodriguez expressed appreciation for the support he said he's received from Yankees teammates and "retired players and players that are in the Hall of Fame" and added that he's sad that the controversy has dominated baseball's news cycle lately.
"It's a very sad story," Rodriguez said. "And we hope we can take it out of the newspapers and I hope we can start concentrating on all the good things the big league is doing with all the young players moving forward."