TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Alex Rodriguez expects to be questioned repeatedly about drug use as he approaches Barry Bonds' career home-run record.
``Right now, the game is in a very not-trusting situation with our public, with our fans,'' A-Rod said Wednesday in his first remarks after arriving at spring training. ``Some of the things that I've accomplished and potentially some of the things that people think I can accomplish, my name has come up and will probably come up again in the future.''
Rodriguez, who signed a record $275 million, 10-year contract to remain with the New York Yankees, won his third AL MVP award last season after leading the major leagues with 54 home runs and 156 RBIs. The 11-time All-Star, who is 32, enters the season 17th on the career list with 518 home runs, 244 behind the record Bonds established last year.
A-Rod stated categorically that he had never taken steroids or human growth hormone. He said he isn't worried about Jose Canseco, who has hinted without going into detail that he will make allegations against Rodriguez in an upcoming book.
``Last year, I got tested 9-to-10 times,'' Rodriguez said. ``We have a very, very strict policy, and I think the game is making tremendous strides.''
Rodriguez also denied a claim last week by former Texas teammate John Rocker that doctors from management and the players' association told A-Rod, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Rocker following a spring training meeting how to effectively use steroids. Rodriguez and Rocker were with the Rangers in 2002.
``That did not happen,'' A-Rod said.
He praised teammate Andy Pettitte, who was forced to give a deposition and affidavit to Congress in which he admitted using HGH in 2002 and 2004. Pettitte also said Roger Clemens discussed HGH use nearly a decade ago - Clemens said Pettitte ``misremembers.''
``Andy is one of the greatest human beings I've ever met,'' Rodriguez said. ``I have two daughters - well, I have one and one on the way. If I had a daughter, I would want 'em to marry Andy Pettitte. The age difference might be a little awkward, but in today's day and age anything is possible.''
Rodriguez wouldn't discuss a December report in The New York Times that claimed some of the housing near Legends Field owned by Newport Property Ventures, a company that he is chief executive of, was in disrepair.
``Anything about business or anything like that, I'd rather not talk about,'' he said.
Preparing for his fifth season with the Yankees, Rodriguez said he got comfortable in New York by limiting his comments and letting his on-field performance speak for him. What was the key?
``I think not overreacting. I think restricting is very important,'' he said, seated in the first-base dugout at Legends Field. ``I think sometimes if you read something or you hear something, you feel like you want to defend yourself or explain yourself. And you figure out that it really doesn't matter. You've got to go out and play. You've got to be, you know, happy within your own skin and not worry too much, not try to overexplain or explain anything.''
Rodriguez said he still hasn't spoken with Scott Boras since negotiating his new contract without his longtime agent. A-Rod, however, has been dealing with others in Boras' office.

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