PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — Hal Steinbrenner says Alex Rodriguez is "a great player" and "obviously an asset," but the New York Yankees' managing general partner wouldn't discuss the third baseman's possible return to the team following a season-long suspension.
Speaking to reporters at baseball owners' meetings Wednesday, Steinbrenner said he isn't thinking about 2015.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rodriguez for 211 games in August, and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz cut the penalty last weekend to the 2014 season and postseason. The arbitrator found "clear and convincing evidence" the three-time AL MVP used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct Major League Baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic.
Rodriguez responded by suing MLB and the players' association in an effort to overturn the decision.
Asked if he would welcome Rodriguez back, Steinbrenner said, "He's a great player."
"I have not thought about 2015, nor am I going to right now," Steinbrenner said. "My focus has to be right now. But when he's on and when he's healthy, he's obviously an asset. We'll see what happens."
Yankees captain Derek Jeter said he is saddened by the situation.
"The whole situation is bad," Jeter said at his Turn 2 Foundation golf classic in Tampa, Fla. "The whole thing has been kind of messy."
Jeter has been in communication with Rodriguez, but declined to say what was discussed.
"I'm sure it's a rough situation," Jeter said.
Hall of Famer Goose Gossage attended Jeter's event and called the Rodriguez matter unfortunate for the game and everyone involved.