Rodriguez, a year after being suspended from baseball, gets rousing ovation from home crowd.
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez listened to the cheers and waved his cap. He worked out an eight-pitch walk, lined an opposite-field single into right field and flied out.
After all the huffing and puffing, a grievance, multiple lawsuits and public threats, followed by the inevitable apology, seemingly scripted contrition and never-ending genuflection, A-Rod was back with the Yankees, in pinstripes, in front of the not-quite adoring but forever-forgiving fans on a sunny opening day.
Back from an unprecedented seasonlong drug suspension, Rodriguez received a loud ovation and, for a designated hitter, a rare shout-out from the Bleacher Creatures. He was dropped to seventh in the batting order during the regular season for the first time in 19 years and he went 1 for 2 Monday in a 6-1 loss to Toronto.
“It means the world to me,” he said during a string of saccharine postgame comments. “I don’t think I ever took it for granted, but I can guarantee you I won’t take this year for granted.”
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Manager Joe Girardi wasn’t surprised by Rodriguez’s reception.
“I think we live in a forgiving society overall,” he said. “We live in a society that gives people second and third chances, fourth, fifth … As humans, we’re going to make mistakes. I know for me, if someone would have given up on me the first time I made a mistake, it would have been a long life for me, I’m sure. But we live in a society that pulls for people to come back and make something of their life, and I think we’re fortunate because of that.”
• Travis Snider made a good first impression in his debut for the Baltimore Orioles.
Snider, a product of Jackson High in Mill Creek, had three hits, drove in two runs, made a diving catch and threw a runner out at the plate from right field while helping the defending AL East champions open the season with a 6-2 victory over Tampa Bay. “I don’t know what else you could ask the guy to do. He had a great first day,’’ manager Buck Showalter said.
• Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun left the season opener against Colorado with a strain on his right side.
• Giants right-hander Matt Cain went for an MRI on Monday to discover the cause of tightness in his right forearm. Cain appears to be a longshot for his turn Wednesday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Tim Lincecum will likely start. Peavy won’t be ready to take his first turn Tuesday because of back tightness. Ryan Vogelsong will start instead, Bochy said.
• The Boston Red Sox and pitcher Rick Porcello have agreed to an $82.5 million, four-year contract.
Porcello’s new deal begins next year and includes a $500,000 signing bonus. He will make $20 million in each of the first two seasons, and then $21 million in the final two years of the contract. Following an off day on Tuesday, Porcello faces Phillies RHP Aaron Harang on Wednesday night.
• Torii Hunter’s first game back with the Minnesota Twins ended with the outfielder yelling at plate umpire Joe West.
Hunter was livid after West ruled he swung at strike three for the final out of Minnesota’s 4-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers. The Twins had a hard time doing anything offensively in their first game under manager Paul Molitor, but they had two on when Hunter struck out against Joe Nathan.
As West walked off the field, Hunter argued he checked his swing.
“I think he had dinner reservations or a concert to play in,” Hunter said. “But that was terrible. We come out and do our job every day — that’s what I do. I come ready to play, do my job, I battle at the plate. We ask you to do your job as well, and Joe West needs to do his job, and he didn’t do it well.”
West’s reply was pretty straightforward. “I thought he swung, so I said he swung,” the veteran umpire said.