When the Major League Baseball announced players who commitments to play World Baseball Classic during Winter Meeting, Rodriguez, who was born in New York but his parents are Dominican, listed “Undecided” and is eligible to play for both the Dominican Republic and the United States.
“That seems to be pretty much where I’m leaning,” Rodriguez said during an interview on WFAN radio. “I think it’s going to be the team I’m going to represent, kind of like what (Mike) Piazza’s doing with Italy.”
If Rodriguez joined Dominican Republic, it will add more power to the lineup, which already includes stars like Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada and Alfonso Soriano.
“I think the Latino teams are going to have a major advantage, I know the guys in the Dominican are taking this real seriously.” Rodriguez said. “I think that American team might take it more like an exhibition and these guys are kind of playing for their religion down there, the pride of their country.”
Talking about injuries concern, Rodriguez said. “I am excited and a little nervous, about obviously guys getting injured,” “That time of year you pull a hamstring and you are out three to four weeks. That may impact the whole season. I mean, you may have some type of ill effect going into even June or July.”
But he still wants to play. “I only know how to play one way once I’m between the lines. I love to compete, I love to play, and I’m going to go all out.”
Rodriguez is one of three Yankees to commit to play, joining second baseman Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) and shortstop Derek Jeter (United States). Catcher Jorge Posada wanted to play for Puerto Rico, but the Yankees blocked him from participating. Other players like Hideki Matsui, Chien Ming Wang still undecided about whether to play or not.
A-Rod, who is well-known for his strenuous offseason workout, will begin baseball activity earlier than usual. Instead of beginning his hitting work around Jan. 1, as usual, he plans to step into the cage in the next 10 days. “There is definitely a sense of urgency for me to get ready a little earlier,” Rodriguez said. “To get more game ready, start throwing earlier.”
Rodriguez’s spokesman, Steve Fortunato, said the decision will be made by Major League Baseball and the players’ association. “Alex’s comments are based on discussions with the tournament organizers,” Fortunato said. “The organizers are ultimately going to recommend what team Alex should be placed on, and he would follow that. We’re waiting to see what that is. He wants to do whatever is best for tournament.”