Alex Rodriguez has been hard at work repairing his tattered image and beside cultivating new fans by high-fiving kids too young to be haters, the Yankees pariah is getting support from one unexpected person.
Namely, Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famer.
"I am rooting for him," Aaron told Newsday. "Despite all of the things that people say he had been involved in, I'm rooting for him to come back and have a great year."
Still, the former home-run champ is unsure of how 40-year-old A-Rod will do this season in his return to baseball and the Yankees. Rodriguez missed the past season due to a year-long suspension for his admitted role in the Biogenesis PED scandal.
"I am very much anxious to see what he's going to do," Aaron said. "I wish him well, but I just don't know. When you're [away] from playing the game the whole year and go out and then have to face kids that are throwing 90 miles an hour, it's a tough thing."
Aaron — who fought through his own form of adversity — ended up losing his home run crown to Barry Bonds, another tainted star. Yet, Hammerin' Hank made it clear that he believed records, including his, are meant to be broken.
"And I'm not sitting here saying the reason that a lot of these guys are breaking records are because of steroids," Aaron said. "I can't say that because I'm not God. I don't know [if] they've been in steroids, I can't say that. The only thing I can say is I wish them well and that they do the best they can. They have to live and meet their own maker, not me."
If Rodriguez manages to hit another 100 runs or so, and nears Aaron's home run mark of 755, the one-time career home-run king said he wouldn't mind watching him approach the milestone.
"If I wanted to go to the game and A-Rod was playing, I certainly would go to the game," said Aaron. "I've met A-Rod, and to be honest, between him and me, he's been nothing but a friend to me. I liked him."
That's a high-five A-Rod could surely use.