NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez extended his apology tour to include the fans Tuesday, releasing a handwritten letter in which he said he is sorry for his mistakes that led to his suspension for performance-enhancing drug use.
In the letter obtained by ESPN on Tuesday afternoon, Rodriguez called the New York Yankees "gracious" for offering him the chance to use Yankee Stadium for a news conference. But Rodriguez chose to forgo a formal media session.
"I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season," Rodriguez said in the statement. "I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I'm sorry.
"I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that's on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job."
Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rodriguez for 211 games in August 2013, citing conduct from 2010 to '12 uncovered during MLB's investigation of Biogenesis, which was based in Coral Gables, Florida, not far from Rodriguez's home. That clinic's founder, Anthony Bosch, was sentenced to four years in federal prison Tuesday morning for posing as a doctor and illegally supplying steroid injections and other PEDs.
The Yankees owe Rodriguez $61 million over the remaining three years on his contract. New York has shown no inclination to release the three-time MVP.
Rodriguez is the subject of an ESPN The Magazine story written by J.R. Moehringer released Wednesday. Over the course of many interviews over several months, Moehringer talked with Rodriguez about his PED use and how he has spent his year during the longest PED-related suspension in baseball history. Among other items Rodriguez talked about:
• Rodriguez believes that what Bosch gave him might have been a placebo. "Only me," Rodriguez said of his relationship with Bosch. "Only a dope like me would do that stuff and have the two worst statistical seasons of my career."
• Rodriguez considered retirement early in his suspension for the 2014 season.
• He has been in therapy, and Moehringer calls his therapist "one of two people in the world who know something close to the whole story."
• Rodriguez sought the counsel of, and spent time with, Barry Bonds, whom A-Rod regards as a hitting scientist.
"I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that's on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job."Alex Rodriguez,
in handwritten statement
• He is concerned about telling the whole story to his 10-year-old daughter, Natasha.
"You had pocket aces!" Rodriguez told Moehringer. "Pocket. Aces. And somehow you blew the hand. You could've walked away years ago. You could've grown a beard, gotten fat, and you'd have had a career to be proud of, and you'd be a lock for the Hall. But no. You had to ... had to ..."
Rodriguez could be asked about his PED use at his locker during spring training, but it appears he will decline to go into details.
"I served the longest suspension in the history of the League for PED use," Rodriguez wrote in his statement. "The Commissioner has said the matter is over. The Players Association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball.
"I'm ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball.
"This game has been my single biggest passion since I was a teenager. When I go to spring training, I will do everything I can to be the best player and teammate possible, earn a spot on the Yankees and help us win."
Rodriguez met with top Yankees officials on Feb. 10 and apologized to the team as he prepares to report to spring training ahead of the first full-squad workout on Feb. 26.
The Yankees and Rodriguez released a joint statement after their 90-minute meeting that day, saying that the slugger "initiated the meeting and apologized to the organization for his actions over the past several years."
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and team executives told Rodriguez that they want him to clear the air with the media before spring training, hoping to avoid the distraction that his news conference would create in Tampa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.