St. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Through the first 34 games of his comeback season, Alex Rodriguez has taken great pains to avoid saying or doing anything the least bit controversial.
So when he was asked Wednesday to respond to the statements of former teammeate Jorge Posada -- who said on a morning TV show that players who used performance-enhancing drugs, including former teammates A-Rod and Roger Clemens, should not be voted into the Hall of Fame -- Rodriguez stayed on message.
"I consider Jorgie a friend," Rodriguez said. "Jorgie's always worn his heart on his sleeve and that's fine. He was a great teammate and a great player for a long time. What I remember the most is sharing and winning a championship in '09. I have nothing but good memories."
Posada was making the rounds of interview shows to promote his new book, "The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes," in which he also is critical of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
"In fairness to Jorgie, I haven't read the book," Rodriguez said. "I haven't read anything, so I have to put it all in context. I'm not really prepped to answer those questions."
Oddly enough, the interview with Posada on "CBS This Morning" took place on the University of Miami's baseball field -- Alex Rodriguez Field.
"I heard that," Rodriguez said. "I didn't see that. For some of you who haven't visited us in Coral Gables, it's a beautiful field. You guys should come down. I am on the hosting committee and I sit on the board. You're all invited. I have a nice box."
Posada's resentment seems to stem from the voting for the 2003 American League MVP Award, which went to Rodriguez, then a member of the Texas Rangers. Posada finished third behind A-Rod and Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"2003 is a long time ago," Rodriguez said. "All my energy is focused on 2015."
Rodriguez is enjoying a surprisingly good comeback season after sitting out all of 2014 after being suspended by Major League Baseball for 162 games for illegal performance-enhancing drug use. His eight home runs and 20 RBIs are second on the team to Mark Teixeira, who has 11 and 27. Last week, he hits the 661st and 662nd home runs of his career to pass Willie Mays for fourth on baseball's all-time list.
Plus, he has won over the home crowd at Yankee Stadium, which greeted him with a mixture of boos and cheers on Opening Day but has responded to his productive bat with unconditional support.
"I've been so humbled by the response I've gotten, not only from my current teammates but from former teammates," he said. "The support that I've had is overwhelming and I just feel extremely grateful."
While Rodriguez said he could not remember the last time he spoke to Posada and said he saw no need to discuss the matter with him, the two are likely to cross paths May 24 when the Yankees retire Bernie Williams' number in a pregame ceremony, or in August when the Yankees do the same for Posada.
Asked if thought those meetings might be awkward, Rodriguez said, "No, not at all. Jorge is a friend. We'll keep it simple. Keep it light."
And free of controversy.