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October 5, 2010

Alex Rodriguez


Q. Alex, when you look at your individual performance in the last postseason, coupled with winning a ring, does that give you a sense of liberation coming into this postseason? If so, how do you think that will manifest itself in your approach and your performance?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think we can all draw upon it from our postseason last year. We won a championship, so things went according to plan. For me personally, I plan to take the same mindset into this year, which the funny thing for me, it started last May coming back from Colorado. Really nothing has changed. You know, my focus has been on the team, trying to simplify the game, enjoy the game, enjoy my teammates. And, you know, it has been fun. It has taken me a while to get to this point, but I think it feels good to be here.

Q. Alex, how much do you attribute your strong September to health and how much to just finding your swing?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think Kevin Long said sometime in Kansas City we found our stroke, and unfortunately the calf injury came and kind of set us back a little bit. But because it was a calf injury, I thought Kevin and I had a lot of time in the cage where we maintained our swing. And, you know, I also charged my batteries up a little bit. So coming back I felt pretty strong.
So I think Kansas City I think he found something in my swing and we went from there.

Q. Alex, what is it about Kevin that allows him to connect with you guys so well? And how much of an impact has he had on your career since he has worked with you?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think I am biased, I think Kevin Long is the greatest hitting coach in the game and we are very lucky to have him here. He's just a great communicator. Every player that comes from another team, we feel like they will be that much better because Kevin will help them. And for me he has been a huge asset to my game and my career. And he is just one of those special guys. It is really hard to put it into words as a tangible thing that you feel each and every day.

Q. When the Yankees made a baseball decision about Johnny Damon and Matsui and Melky going into the season, how did you feel about the loss of them? And can you talk very briefly about how guys have filled in for them.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: There is no secret in a perfect world we said it after we won the championship last year, you would like to have every guy back. You know, having Johnny on the team for me was a dream. He was a very close friend and a very important part of this team. The one thing that this organization does better than anyone, I think, is bring in great players and great people. And I think the organization for the most part did that, and are adjusting very well. I know the guys that have come in have gotten better in the second half and hopefully are getting ready for a big postseason.

Q. Alex, they saying that retaining is tougher than attaining. Can you talk about the challenge of trying to win this thing again when so many things have to go right?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, a lot of things have to go right. Sometimes 11 games can sound very simple, but we know it is a very tall mountain to climb. In my opinion, we definitely have what it takes in our clubhouse to get that done again. But it is funny, people talk about defending. I don't really like that term. When you defend, that is not how we got our championship last year. I thought we got our championship last year, we earned it by attacking and being assertive, not by trying to defend something. To me when you hear the word "defend" you are being defensive and not being proactive and attacking. I think the way we attain number 28 is doing things the way we did last year.

Q. Why do you think Derek Jeter is so effective in the postseason? I wonder if you might have a favorite Jeter post-season moment?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I have a lot. Derek is incredible. I play right next to him and have the best seat in the house. He is the ultimate professional and he keeps things very, very simple. He always has a great time. Always enjoys it.
And one story I shared with our team this morning was that I think it was November 1st or 2nd, very late in October, I think we were playing the Phillies and there was a rain delay. And somebody wanted to go to the cage and get some extra work. And the captain says, "If you haven't figured it out by now, you probably aren't going to. Go out and have fun and enjoy the game." And I think that guy did that and got a couple of big hits and helped us win. So that's his mentality. He's just great.

Q. Alex, the attitude you talk about you adopted last May, does that come naturally to you now or do you kind of every once in a while remind yourself that that's the way you want to think?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I wish it came naturally. I knock my head against the wall many, many times. And it has come a lot easier for some than for me. But I think it's good to get here. Although it has been a lot of hard work than never getting here at all. I can just remember early in my career that it was good enough for me to come out at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning in spring training and get my work done and try to be the best player I could be. But, you know, looking at it the way I look at it now, it is important for me to come out with four or five guys and try to share my experiences and try to make my teammates better.
And, you know, I think for me it all turned when I went down to Colorado and came back and, you know, I know you guys are probably tired of hearing me say this, but trying to simplify things and eliminate some of the distractions off the field and focus on my game. And my teammates and for the most part I think have I done that.

Q. Alex, do you find it odd that for the first time in a long time you're not the favorite to win the World Series?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, I said it down the stretch in September, all the teams that are in the postseason are very capable of winning a world championship. We have tremendous parity in our game today, more so than I have seen in my 15 or 16 years being at the Major League level. So that's great for our game overall. At some point every team in the American League has had their struggles and challenges and have had to deal with major injuries. But that's a good thing. I mean, for us to be David in this situation I think is great.
The Yankees are always going to be somewhat favorites because we're the Yankees and that comes with the territory. It is something that we embrace and we like. But they want to call us underdogs, we'll take that role.

Q. Alex, before Game 1 of the World Series last year you mentioned that you had a conversation with John Elway about how long it took for him to win a Super Bowl. He ultimately said that it made easier to win the second time around for him. Do you think winning one is going to make it easier, a little bit easier for you to win the second one? If so, why?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I hope it doesn't take me 17 years to win another one, that's for sure. But I can't answer that right now. I think when my career is all said and done, I will have a much better perspective, just like John. But I know this conversation that we had down in Miami, four or five years ago, whenever it was, it definitely gave me a lot of hope and faith that, you know, that it's possible to do. Because I mean we had similar careers coming up towards the middle to the end of our careers, and he definitely gave me a lot of hope.

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