TAMPA, Fla. - Alex Rodriguez reported to Yankees spring training on Monday, three days ahead of schedule and following a season-long suspension.
He took some swings and fielded ground balls on the field and questions off it.
Rodriguez arrived shortly before 1 p.m. Monday in a white SUV at the team's minor league complex, a short distance from Steinbrenner Field. He was wearing a Miami Hurricanes warmup jacket and pants and carrying baseball bats when he arrived.
"At this point, the good news is that I made mistakes, I served a big penalty, personally and professionally, and now all my focus is on 2015 and to try to make this team," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez underwent a physical while at the team's complex Monday.
Position players start workouts Thursday. Rodriguez wase on the field Monday afternoon taking groundballs. He worked out for more than two hours. Rodriguez fielded ground balls on the left side of the infield, hit balls off a tee, then took swings from the plate during a live batting practice session.
Rodriguez hit six balls over the fence during his round of batting practice.
"So far so good, it's the first day," Rodriguez said. "I think for me the time off was a benefit to me and I feel good. Healthy, ready to go.
"Just the time off, naturally, I know the first time I get a chance to rest for afull year in my career, and get a chance to train versus rehabbing, so I feel good."
Rodriguez signed autographs for fans after his workout for about 10 minutes, then met with assembled reporters.
When asked what he would do differently over the past two years, Rodriguez said, "We don't have enough time for that. There was plenty of mistakes along the way. I cringe sometimes when I look at some of the things I did. But I've paid my penalty and I'm grateful that I have another opportunity."
Among the things he did was suing the MLB players union and Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad. Both lawsuit have since been dropped.
"No mistake that I've made has any good answer, no justification," Rodriguez said. "It's unexplainable. And that's on me. I've dug a big hole for myself. Paid a price. And I'm fortunate for a lot of people - especially the commissioner's office, the players union, the Yankees - to give me an opportunity to play the game that I love."
Rodriguez was suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement and labor contract with his involvement with the Biogeneis performance-enhancing drug scandal that rocked MLB in 2013. Rodriguez apologized to Yankees officials during a meeting on Feb. 10 and to fans in a handwritten statement last week.
Rodriguez turns 40 in July and has not played a full season since 2007 because of injuries, operations on both hips and the longest suspension in MLB history.
He admitted in 2009 that he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 while with the Texas Rangers.
"I'm confident that if I stay healthy I can do some good things," Rodriguez said.
The Yankees signed Chase Headley to be their everyday third baseman this season. Rodriguez is expected to compete for at-bats as designated hitter. The Yankees also said he may see some time at first base in spring training.
"I think Chase is an excellent addition to our team," Rodriguez said. "We had a nice conversation a little bit ago, talked about winning, talked about how great it is to play in New York, in front of the greatest fans, talked about the stadium. I'm looking forward to being his teammate."
Last week during his opening news conference at spring training, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Rodriguez would have to earn his spot on the roster.
"It reminds me of being 18 years old and I was trying to make Lou Piniella's team [in Seattle]," Rodriguez said. "I'm excited. I love to compete. I'm here a couple days early trying to get a jump start. I love baseball. I just love being in uniform, so grateful to have an opportunity to be back."