New York: Disgraced Major League Baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez apologized to the New York Yankees in a 90-minute meeting Tuesday for using performance-enhancing drugs and criticizing the team in defending himself.
Rodriguez, 39, was among 13 players who were suspended by the league in connection with the Biogenesis doping scandal, the other 12 being hit with 50-game bans.
Rodriguez initially received an unprecedented 211-game suspension that was eventually cut to 162 games, a ban he served by missing all of last season.
But "A-Rod" is set to make a controversial return to the club when the 2015 campaign begins and making amends to the Yankees` top executives was a step in that process.
Third baseman Rodriguez and his attorney met with Yankees chief owner Hal Steinbrenner, president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman at Yankee Stadium.
"Alex initiated the meeting and apologized to the organization for his actions over the past several years," Rodriguez and the Yankees said in a joint statement.
"There was an honest and frank discussion on all of the issues. As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training."
The doping scandal, a follow on to Rodriguez`s 2009 admission that he also took steroids while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, has tainted Rodriguez`s chase of major league career home run records.
Rodriguez has smacked 654 career home runs, fifth on the all-time list, six shy of Willie Mays in fourth, 60 behind Babe Ruth in third and 108 off the record 762 set by Barry Bonds, whose links to banned substances have tainted his achievement in the eyes of many fans.
Rodriguez is set to make contract bonus money for moving up the career homer list. But the club is expected to fight paying that money because of the doping stain associated with the feat.
The meeting comes with the Yankees ready to begin with pitchers and catchers for pre-season training on February 20 in Florida.