A-Rod Won't Address Allegations

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Alex Rodriguez refused to address allegations by Jose Canseco, who claims he introduced the three-time MVP to a steroids dealer.

"It's over as far as I'm concerned," Rodriguez said Wednesday after his New York Yankees lost 4-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies. "No further comment on the matter. I'm just excited to be playing baseball."

In the book, "Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball," Canseco claimed he introduced Rodriguez to a steroids dealer named "Max." Excerpts from the book, slated for publication on April 1, were posted on deadspin.com before being removed Wednesday.

Canseco wrote that Rodriguez approached him years ago and asked where "one" might acquire steroids. During an interview to be broadcast Thursday by ABC's "Nightline," Canseco said he won't produce evidence to back his claim.

"The timing's not right," Canseco said, according to excerpts released by ABC. "Let's see how Alex reacts. Let's see if they all call me a liar again. How's that for you? Let's see if all of a sudden they're going to call me a liar again."

During the ABC interview, Canseco refused to identify "Max."

"We'll keep him out of it until the time is proper," Canseco said.

Yankees officials aren't concerned about a potential distraction.

"Alex is one of the guys who can focus on the job at hand," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he understands his surroundings better now. I've always felt that it takes players a little bit of time to figure out New York. And I found it to be a wonderful place to play. I loved it. But it takes some time. Some players it takes longer than others. But once you figure it out, it's an awesome place to play.

"He's always going to command a lot of attention because of the type of player he is," Girardi added. "And everything he does is going to be under a microscope. Is that fair? I don't know if it's fair, but it's reality."

According to a report by The Record of Bergen County, N.J., Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner defended Rodriguez.

"Consider the source, that's number one," Steinbrenner told the paper, referring to Canseco. "He wouldn't have been able to hit the ball out of the infield without steroids."

"There are certain naturals. There are guys who can just do it, and Alex is one of those guys," Steinbrenner was quoted as saying by the newspaper's Web site.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talked briefly with Rodriguez.

"He's been through so much over so long," Cashman said. "He's fine. You don't predict the future on this stuff, but I would think that this is something that isn't an issue for him. I've got a lot of other things to be worried about more than Alex Rodriguez, to be honest. You'd like to think he'd be the least of our worries."

Rodriguez has had a strong spring training, hitting .432 (16-for-37) with three homers and eight RBIs.

"I'm in a great frame of mind," he said. "I just plan to continue exactly what I was doing last year."


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