A-Rod: 'I'm fighting for my life'

Here are some of the highlights from Monday's Alex Rodriguez news conference, before his season debut and after Major League Baseball announced his 211-game suspension:

• Rodriguez called the past seven months "a nightmare, probably the worst time of my life for sure."

• Rodriguez was asked why he didn't accept his suspension like the other 12 players who faced bans in the Biogenesis case.

"There was a lot [of reasons]. I'm not going to get into any of that today. I think, obviously, [I'm] disappointed with the news today, no question about it," Rodriguez said. "But what we've always fought for is for the process, and I think we have that, and at some point we'll sit in front of an arbiter and give our case. That's as much as I feel comfortable saying right now."

• Rodriguez would not deny that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

"We'll have a forum to discuss all of that and we'll talk about it then," he said.

• Rodriguez said he did not want to discuss it when asked if he thought Major League Baseball was on a witch hunt.

"I don't know what the motivation is for any of this, but I'm going to respect the process," he said. "I feel good that we have an opportunity to do that with the right platform, and we're going to follow the BA [basic agreement] and state our case."

• Rodriguez hasn't thought about his baseball career possibly being over if his appeal is denied.

"I gotta tell you I haven't thought that far ahead, but I'm so excited to have an opportunity to wear this uniform and play baseball for us this year," he said.

• Rodriguez was asked if he expects to play out the rest of the season.

"I haven't gotten any indication of the timing of anything. I'm so focused on tonight and it's been a long time for me," he said. "The last time I was on the field it wasn't pretty, against Detroit in the playoffs and against Baltimore, it was horrific."

• Rodriguez on if his comments Friday night -- "There is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field" -- were counter-productive:

"I said what I said. That's Friday night. Today is another day and I'm focused on what my job is.

"It's been the toughest fight of my life. By no means am I out of the woods. This is probably Phase 2 just starting. It's not going to get easier; it's probably going to get harder, but I am humbled and I'm thankful for the support."

• Why won't A-Rod say that he hasn't used performance-enhancing drugs?

"There are a lot of things that have been thrown to the wall, and I think when the time is right here will be an opportunity for all that," he said. "I don't think that time is right now, and I don't want to interfere or get in the way of anything with due process."

• What would A-Rod tell the fans?

"I would tell them please have some patience, let this process play out, and in due time we'll have an opportunity to reset," he said.

• Does Rodriguez think the Yankees want him back?

"If I'm productive I think they want me back," he replied.

• Does he have any regrets?

"There's nothing that's been easy. All of it has been challenging. I'm sure there have been mistakes made along the way, but we're here now," he said. "I'm a human being. I've had two hip surgeries. I've had two knee surgeries. I'm fighting for my life. I have to defend myself. If I don't defend myself, no one else will."