Updated 03:55 AM EDT, Mon, Sep 21, 2020

Alex Rodriguez 'A Little Nervous' About MLB Spring 2015 Return: vs Philadelphia Phillies

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New York Yankees' third baseman and shortstop Alex Rodriguez will return for his first game at the Major League Baseball's spring 2015 training following his 17-month absence.

The professional baseball player will make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies at Steinbrenner Field in New York's spring training home opener, Fox News Latino reported.

"I'll be a little nervous," Rodriguez said on Tuesday, as quoted by Fox News Latino. "I haven't been in front of my -- our -- fans, for a long time. I'm excited about that. I have some challenges ahead. I'm not sure how ready, but I'll give it a shot."

Rodriguez recently issued a handwritten letter apologizing for his controversial suspension due to performance enhancing drugs, a separate report from Fox News Latino noted. In the statement addressed to his fans, the athlete takes full responsibility for his mistakes that led to his deferral.

During the investigation of the MLB, Rodriguez denied the claims by blaming the Yankees' team doctor, saying that he mishandled his medical care. Fox News Latino noted that arbitrator Fredric Horowitz "reduced the penalty to the 2014 season, finding 'clear and convincing evidence' Rodriguez used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct the baseball's drug investigation."

"He was caught. He paid his time, and now he's back, and he's a Yankee and we're going to cheer for him," New York manager Joe Girardi said, as reported by the news outlet. "Some people are going to say, you know what, I might have a hard time cheering for him. And some people are just fans and they fall in a love with a player, and no matter what they do, it doesn't matter."

To prepare for Wednesday's game, Rodriguez, along with other Yankees players, had an intrasquad game on Monday. According to a report from New Jersey Online, this was "the first game-like competition since Rodriguez finished his 162-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug violations." Though he is considered one of the best, the baseman went 0-for-2, "seeing just three pitches while grounding out to third and flying out to right field," the report observed.

After Tuesday's intrasquad game, A-Rod opted to stay behind to do extra work at the Yankee's spring training complex, which included batting practice and fielding drills at third and first base. The rest of his team went on for its spring training opener against the Phillies in Clearwater, Florida, the news outlet wrote.

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