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Alex Rodriguez answers taunts with home run

Spring opener brings out the boo birds for Yankees' third baseman.

February 26, 2009|Associated Press

Back on the field, Alex Rodriguez was able to put aside the steroids scandal, at least for a little while.

Booed and taunted early by opposing fans in the New York Yankees' spring training opener at Dunedin, Fla., Rodriguez homered and drew two walks Wednesday in a 6-1 exhibition victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was his first game since admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to '03 with Texas.

Rodriguez left the game after drawing a walk in the fifth inning, then signed autographs for five minutes before calling it a day.

"This is what I do. I know how to play baseball," Rodriguez said.

By the third time Rodriguez went to the plate, hecklers who earlier shouted "Hey, A-Rod, where's your cousin?" and "Madonna" were drowned out by applause.

Money freeze

Many major leaguers are short on cash because the government froze accounts in the businesses of Texas financier R. Allen Stanford.

The Yankees' Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady; former Yankee Bernie Williams; the Mets' Mike Pelfrey; Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury; Seattle's Adrian Beltre; Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena; and Philadelphia's Scott Eyre are among those who say they've had accounts frozen.

"If we paid our bills, we wouldn't have any money," said Eyre, who got an undisclosed advance on his $2-million salary from the Phillies on Wednesday.

"I'll pay back whenever I can. I invested in [Stanford] three years ago -- thought it was too good to be true -- and it was."


Minnesota Twins right-hander Boof Bonser is expected to miss the entire season after arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder detected partial tears in his labrum and rotator cuff. . . . Colorado Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder at a Denver-area clinic and is expected to miss the entire season. Francis struggled with inflammation in his shoulder last season, when he went 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA. . . . Cleveland Indians closer Kerry Wood hasn't thrown off a mound since last weekend because of a sore back, and Manager Eric Wedge says the team will give him a few more days of rest before he pitches again. . . . Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. could miss up to a month of spring training because of a right shoulder impingement. . . . Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada will not play for the Dominican Republic in next month's World Baseball Classic.

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