If you thought you saw Alex Rodriguez wearing his New York Yankees uniform and lurking around the dugout during Monday's Opening Day ceremonies at Yankee Stadium— you are correct.
The ailing slugger made his long-awaited reunion with his Yankees teammates after undergoing hip surgery this winter but was not introduced to the fans during pre-game festivities.
According to Yankee officials, A-Rod made the decision to not take part in the introductions — even though the injured Mark Teixeira donned pinstripes and garnered a round of applause.
"It was his [Rodriguez] decision," Yankee spokesperson Jason Zillo said, "He preferred not to be introduced."
Rodriguez told reporters he didn't "need to be introduced to feel like I'm part of this team." Asked if he wanted to be introduced, the third baseman said, "I'll tell you what — when I get introduced, I want to be on the field and not look back."
It would have been Rodriguez's first public appearance in front of Yankees fans since last October, undergoing the January operation and being linked to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Miami.
A suspension, not the hip surgery, might keep A-Rod from getting that introduction longer than the injury.
Rodriguez admitted before the game that he has met with the player's association about the investigation into Biogenesis but declined to go into details.
"I'm not going to comment on that, he said. "We put out a statement and we'll definetly stick by that."
A-Rod said his rehab from the surgery was going well, but refused to comment on whether or not the Yankees would be voiding the rest of his five-year, $114 million contract.
He put no dates on his return timetable either.
"It's too early to determine that right now," said Rodriguez — who knows it will be at least July before he comes back but insists he intends to be back this season. "That's the plan, absolutely."