Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez rejoined the Yankees for spring training as a special instructor. He spent the day working with both the “Baby Bombers” and the veterans he once called teammates.
After the workouts and the brief comeback rumor, it was reported that he might be joining the YES Network to cover his former team.
Earlier today, Rodriguez called into the Michael Kay Show on YES, to further discuss his role as special instructor.
He told Kay he will be taking 12 or 13 players out to dinner tonight in Tampa in what he hopes to be an open forum, where players can ask him anything and hopefully learn a great deal from both his successes as well as his mistakes. While he did not specify which players will be attending, it appears it will be similar to what Jeter provided to the prospects just one night ago.
Delving a bit deeper into the conversation, Alex was asked his input on managing expectations and what he expects from Gary Sanchez. “I think Gary has the perfect makeup for New York,” Rodriguez told Kay. “I said he’s like a hybrid between Manny Ramirez and Big Papi (David Ortiz) because he has a flair for the dramatic, but he’s got a very, very slow heartbeat and he’s extremely confident and that’s rare for a position player his age,” he added.
Rodriguez had plenty to say about 21-year-old shortstop Jorge Mateo, as well. “When you have a young player, we have a great young shortstop in Jorge Mateo who has tremendous upside,” A-Rod said. “And what we have to do is we have to build a curriculum for him. And then judge him on that curriculum and stick with it. So my focus with him would be I’m going to judge him on being on time, on your meticulous work ethic and your great defense. If you do those things, you’re going to hit second for the entire year and get 600 at-bats. But we’re going to do a paradigm shift on how we judge you. And a lot of these kids, all they want to talk about is offense. So you have to shift it and create a system where they can be win-win and the organization can be win-win.”
Being a former highly touted (and scrutinized) prospect himself, Rodriguez appears to understand the position these young Yankees prospects are in and that in order for them to succeed, a great deal of patience is imperative.
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