x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Spotlight on A-Rod as Yankees begin training

A media circus can be expected when Alex Rodriguez arrives at the New York Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa.

A media circus can be expected today as Alex Rodriguez arrives at the New York Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa. The third baseman - also known as A-Rod - is expected to address the media for the first time since admitting using performance- enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. A Sports Illustrated story identified Rodriguez as one of 104 players who tested positive for banned substances in MLB's 2003 survey testing programme.

While he has not yet spoken to the collective media, Rodriguez has publicly spoken twice since the story broke on Feb 7. On Feb 9, the three-time MVP acknowledged the performance-enhancing drug use in an interview with ESPN. Rodriguez also appeared at the University of Miami on Friday, when the Hurricanes dedicated their new baseball field to him. The Yankees say they have announced no official plans for a news conference for Rodriguez, who has publicly received the support of his teammates.

"You can learn from it and move on," the New York closer Mariano Rivera said. "We all make mistakes. The one thing that we have good is we support each other. I will support him, also the rest of the teammates, I hope." A year ago, the Yankees left- hander Andy Pettitte conducted a news conference at spring training in which he explained his past use of human growth hormone while fielding several questions.

Meanwhile, JD Drew - the Boston Red Sox outfielder - has revealed the back injury that curtailed his All-Star 2008 campaign is still bothering him going into spring training. Drew, who missed most of August and September last season while dealing with a herniated disc, said he had an MRI in the off-season and has battled stiffness in his back all winter. "It's one of those injuries that has lingered," Drew said. I've been able to hit and run and all that stuff. Some days I wake up stiff, some days it doesn't seem too bad."

Drew, 34, made his first All-Star team last season. * With agencies