A-Rod not thinking about opting out of deal now

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez sidestepped whether he plans to
opt out of his record contract with the New York Yankees and become
a free agent following this season.

J.D. Drew, like A-Rod a client of agent Scott Boras, used an
opt-out clause to leave the Los Angeles Dodgers for a $70 million,
five-year contract with the Boston Red Sox.

During a promotional appearance Tuesday, Rodriguez was asked
what he thought about Drew's decision.

"I didn't follow the J.D. Drew situation," Rodriguez said.
"My situation and my only goal is to win a world championship, and
I'm going to take it day to day. And that's about it."

Rodriguez is owed a $23 million salary this year, including $1
million deferred without interest until June 30, 2011, and then is
due $24 million in each of the final three seasons of his record
$252 million, 10-year contract.

Texas, which traded A-Rod to the Yankees after the 2003 season,
is partially funding the deal, paying the Yankees $7.1 million this
year, $8.1 million in 2008, $7.1 million in 2009 and $6.1 million
in 2010.

"I think when you put things like that in the contract seven
years ago, the intent was that it would give the player a choice,
knowing full well the player may not use the provision, and also
understanding, too, it gives him an option to consider," Boras
said in a telephone interview. "At this point in time, Alex has
certainly reflected to me he's very happy in New York. We have not
talked about anything like that and probably will not until the
season is completed."

Boras left the impression that Rodriguez could get more than the
$72 million he is owed in the final three seasons of his deal.

"There's a class of player that has not been fitted into this
new market," Boras said. "Obviously when Alex's contract was
done, the revenues of the game were around $3 billion. Now they are
around $6 billion. The elite position player has not been really
graded in this new revenue stream we've seen."

Rodriguez has gone through turbulent times with the Yankees.
While he won the AL MVP award for the second time in 2005, he is
4-for-41 (.098) without an RBI in his last 12 postseason games
dating to 2004.

He was dropped to eighth in the batting order for the first time
in a decade as the Yankees were eliminated in Game 4 of the first
round against Detroit last season.

Rodriguez doesn't see a need to speak to manager Joe Torre about
being dropped that low.

"I'm an employee. If Joe says take out the garbage, I take out
the garbage," he said. "There's no attitude. That's just the
bottom line. I've very old school when it comes to that. And I've
never been a person that ever questions my authority. ... The first
thing I've got to look at in the mirror is me."

Rodriguez is pleased with the offseason moves made by general
manager Brian Cashman.

"I'm excited to play with Andy Pettitte and I'm also excited
about what Brian Cashman has done, kind of gotten us a little bit
younger, a little bit more athletic," Rodriguez said. "I'm also
excited to see some of these young pitchers. We haven't had this
type of spring, where we're actually curious about what these young
pitchers are going to be all about."

He cited the example of the Tigers, who won the AL pennant
behind hard-throwing pitchers Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya.

"Without those two guys, they obviously don't get into the
postseason and almost win a World Series," Rodriguez said.

As he prepares for the start of spring training this month, his
goal is to get a World Series ring for the first time.

"My burden has always been the same since I was 18," he said.
"The only reason I play the game is to win a world championship.
That hasn't changed. From year to year it hasn't changed."