TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Alex Rodriguez walked from the batter's box to home plate in the bottom of the first inning, eye black smeared across his face, and said hello to Philadelphia catcher Tommy Joseph, who was just 1 when A-Rod was taken first in the 1993 amateur draft. Then he turned his head and greeted umpire Marty Foster.
"I told Marty and Tommy to take it easy on the old man," Rodriguez explained. "It's been a couple of years since I've been in the box."
Rodriguez lined a single to left field in his return to the New York Yankees' lineup after an absence of 524 days. He went 1 for 2 with a walk in a 3-1 spring-training loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, another step forward as he tries to resume his drug-scarred career.