Keeping quiet

The Baltimore Sun

Alex Rodriguez declined to address allegations by Jose Canseco, who says he introduced the three-time Most Valuable Player to a steroid dealer.

"It's over as far as I'm concerned," Rodriguez said yesterday after his New York Yankees lost, 4-0, to the Philadelphia Phillies. "No further comment on the matter. I'm just excited to be playing baseball."

In the book, Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball, Canseco writes that he introduced Rodriguez to a steroid dealer named "Max." Excerpts from the book, slated for publication April 1, were posted on before being removed yesterday.

Canseco wrote that Rodriguez approached him years ago and asked where "one" might acquire steroids. During an interview to be broadcast tonight by ABC's Nightline, Canseco said he won't produce evidence to back his claim.

"The timing's not right," Canseco said, according to excerpts released by ABC. "Let's see how Alex reacts. Let's see if they all call me a liar again. How's that for you?"

In the ABC interview, Canseco declined to identify "Max."

Yankees officials aren't concerned about a distraction.

"Alex is one of the guys who can focus on the job at hand," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he understands his surroundings better now. I've always felt that it takes players a little bit of time to figure out New York. And I found it to be a wonderful place to play. I loved it. But it takes some time."

Angels -- Kelvim Escobar told reporters he has a tear in his pitching shoulder and might need surgery. Escobar, who was 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA last season, said he would continue to try and strengthen his arm. The right-hander hasn't pitched this spring.

Blue Jays -- Alex Rios and Toronto are closing in on a six-year contract extension through 2014 that would guarantee him about $65 million. The deal might include a 2015 option that could make it worth about $80 million. Rios, 26, batted .297 and set career highs with 24 home runs and 85 RBIs last season.

Reds -- Homer Bailey is headed back to the minors to work on control. Cincinnati sent its former first-round draft pick to Triple-A Louisville, settling the last question about its rotation. Right-hander Josh Fogg will get the final spot.

Yankees -- Left-hander Andy Pettitte threw 36 pitches during a 10-minute bullpen session and remains on target to start the third or fourth game of the season. Pettitte was originally to start New York's second game against Toronto on Tuesday but was pushed back because of back spasms.

Rangers -- Gerald Laird won his duel with Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the job as starting catcher. Saltalamacchia was optioned to minor league camp. The 22-year-old switch-hitter, acquired in the July trade that sent Mark Teixeira (Mount St. Joseph) to Atlanta, will catch every day at Triple-A Oklahoma.

Mariners -- Reliever Chris Reitsma left camp after learning he would not make the roster for the start of the season. Reitsma drove away from spring training camp in Peoria, Ariz., after a meeting with general manager Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren. Reitsma was in camp as a nonroster invitee.

Pirates -- Right-hander Tyler Yates, a hard-throwing reliever who probably wasn't going to make the Braves' Opening Day roster, was traded to Pittsburgh for Double-A right-hander Todd Redmond.

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