Alex Rodriguez Embraces the Difference a Year Makes

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Alex Rodriguez before taking batting practice during a spring training workout in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday.

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Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — A year ago, Alex Rodriguez showed up here unannounced to even the Yankees, his first news conference an impromptu event on the sidewalk outside their minor league complex and his first steps back into baseball from a yearlong drug suspension awkward and uncertain.

So when he sat at a table Thursday afternoon and addressed the news media after being showered with adoration by fans at his first workout at Steinbrenner Field, it was hard not to notice the difference — especially for him.

“It’s certainly liberating coming into this season not carrying all this luggage with me all off-season,” Rodriguez said. “I’m at ease. I’m in a good place.”

Gone…

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