The Yankees are supporting Alex Rodriguez while he works his way back from hip surgery and wards off accusations of associating with a clinic that sold performance-enhancing drugs.
But they’ve also made it clear that they still have expectations for the slugger, who is in the middle of a 10-year, $275 million contract.
A day after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talked about Rodriguez having trouble living up to the deal, owner Hal Steinbrenner added some thoughts of his own.
“It’s a big contract to live up to,” Steinbrenner said, echoing Cashman’s words, according to the New York Daily News. “We all hope he’s going to act like a Yankee and do the best he can to live up to it.”
Steinbrenner said the offseason accusations linking Rodriguez to the South Florida clinic haven’t swayed the team’s view of Rodriguez’s role moving forward.
“We haven’t been told anything, so it hasn’t complicated things at all,” Steinbrenner said, according to the New York Post. “Innocent until proven guilty, right?”
Steinbrenner wouldn’t absolve Rodriguez of all the blame, though.
“There have no doubt been times that we’ve been disappointed in him, and we’ve conveyed that to him,” Steinbrenner said. “He understands that. Look, everybody is human. Everybody makes mistakes. If you’ve got a guy over the course of 10 years, there are going to be times any of us makes mistakes in that period of time.”
Like Cashman, Steinbrenner pointed to when Rodriguez would be back on the field.
“He knows what we expect from him,” Steinbrenner said, drawing a reference to 2009, when Rodriguez helped lead the team to a championship after having offseason surgery on his other hip. “He knows what his teammates expect from him. We just hope he comes back strong. We need all the help we can get.”
Rodriguez may need it, too.