New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez issued an apology Tuesday in the form of a handwritten letter as he attempts a return from the performance-enhancing drug suspension that cost him the entirety of the 2014 season. The apology came one week after Rodriguez apologized directly to Yankees management for his transgressions.
“I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season. I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry,” Rodriguez wrote in the letter.
“It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology, but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium I should be in pinstripes doing my job,” he added.
— MLB (@MLB) February 17, 2015
Rodriguez met with Yankees officials, including team co-owner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine on Feb. 10 to clear up any lingering disputes over his actions and suspension. The team accepted his apology but also said his behavior had damaged the franchise’s reputation, according to the New York Times. The Yankees don't plan to pay Rodriguez the $6 million in escalator bonuses he's slated to receive for reaching certain career home run totals.
“Alex initiated the meeting and apologized to the organization for his actions over the past several years. There was an honest and frank discussion on all of the issues. As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training,” Rodriguez’s lawyer and Yankees officials said in a joint statement.
MLB officials initially suspended Rodriguez for 211 games for his connection to Anthony Bosch, the disgraced founder of the Florida-based Biogenesis clinic that illegally distributed performance-enhancing drugs to at least 13 players. An independent arbitrator later reduced the suspension to 162 games, which still amounted to its largest penalty in the league’s history.
Rodriguez, who turned 39 in July, has three years and $61 million remaining on his contract with the Yankees. He has accumulated 2,939 hits and 654 home runs over his 20-year MLB career.