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October 9, 2009

Alex Rodriguez


THE MODERATOR: First question for Alex Rodriguez.

Q. Take us to that at-bat in the ninth inning.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I saw three sliders and a fastball in, and then I believe I hit a fastball.

Q. Alex, you've talked about knowing what the numbers are coming into this post-season. How much do you think those two hits in Game 1 helped you relax and take the approach you did tonight, especially in the ninth inning?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think it helped. I think the first hit was one that definitely made me feel, like I checked in and started contributing a little bit. I wanted to take the same approach I've had all year, going back to May when I came in.

Q. Are you having more fun right now, and if it is, some special reason for that?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I feel good, a really good team, excellent. I feel great. Not only with the game but in my life.

Q. I wonder if you can explain how much you think it helps Teixeira to have you hitting fourth and how much it helps you to have Teixeira hitting third, and because you knew him previously, is he one of the key guys who helped you to find serenity?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think overall the approach coming into spring training after when I came back in May was I felt like I had a new start. And I wanted to let my play do the talking a little bit. And one of the contributing factors for me was having Mark Teixeira, a familiar face, a familiar friend.
And the very first week when I came to Baltimore, we went out to lunch. We talked about a lot of good things.
I think we make a good combination. Obviously he's a switch-hitter which is obviously very powerful in the middle of the lineup, and I'm righty. I think we make a good team. I think we help each other out.

Q. Alex, you've obviously had a lot of huge moments in your career. But given the stakes and the stage, I mean, you sort of assess where that home run ranks?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: It just felt really good. Obviously, we needed it. It's the way we've been playing baseball all year. Nothing has changed for us. From, you know, the day we came in Opening Day since I've been here, there's been a lot of magic in there and everybody has contributed. But for me personally, that was obviously a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.

Q. Alex, considering how your season started with the stuff that happened before spring training and then the hip surgery, what were your expectations for yourself this season and have you exceeded them?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I didn't have any expectations. I was sitting there and Dr. Philippon was at the game today. He operated on me. I remember a couple of hours after he operated, I said, "Am I going to be able to play this year?" All you think about a hip surgery is Bo Jackson and you get scared to death, obviously. So I had no expectations. That's the first time in my whole career. That obviously made me feel more relaxed.
I wanted to come in and contribute. And the numbers I thought in my mind, if I could hit 15 and drive in 50 and hopefully have 50 big runs to help us win, I would have been happy with that.

Q. Considering what happened today, you got pretty good news from the doctor and the home run and everything; where does this rank in your Yankee tenure?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: First of all, I was very happy to see Philippon. I was so thankful for what he did for me. He was out in the field. Obviously it was a special day for me to have him back. I love that man, obviously. He did a nice job. You know, obviously we have a lot of work to do. But today was obviously I think a very nice day.

Q. You weren't three steps off the plate; you knew that was gone. You pumped your fist at the dugout. What does that feel like when you hit a ball like that in that situation and you know it's gone?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: You feel so good. You grind out an at-bat against one of the best closers in the game. And you get to a favorable count and you get a pitch in your wheelhouse and obviously you don't want to miss it. And the fun part is I was just thinking base hit. Hit the ball hard somewhere. And it went to the seats.

Q. Alex, for lack of a better word, do you think now that you're over the hump in terms of post-season play that you can now finally be the hitter that you are?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Be the what now? The last part?

Q. You can now finally be the hitter that you have been throughout your career?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: That's the goal. But, again, this whole year I'm playing with no expectations. I'm going out and having fun doing the best that I can. It's kind of what I've done here for four and a half months since I've been back. Hopefully it continues.

Q. Alex, the thing is that Barry Bonds had the same sort of like career as you where he struggled early on, post-season, then he had a monster post-season in 2002. Doesn't talent eventually always show that you're going to eventually come out of it and have a great post-season?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I mean, you like to think so. The one thing that -- I can see that's been great this year, our two horses have gone out and pitched gems. And it buys you an opportunity to do some special things late in the game. A.J. probably had the best stuff he had all year today. He was phenomenal. Our bullpen was great.
So it gives you an opportunity to make an impact late. That's been -- that's helped.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Alex. That concludes the interview room. Safe travels, everybody.

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