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Monday, May 25, 2009

A-Rods return to Texas , with Boo's

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was heartily booed Monday when introduced before his first game in Texas since his admission earlier this year that he used steroids while playing for the Rangers.

Rodriguez played for the Rangers from 2001-03, when he first became baseball's highest-paid player with a then-record $252 million, 10-year contract. He was traded to the New York Yankees before spring training in 2004.

A-Rod didn't answer questions from reporters before the game, saying he would talk later. In the dugout before batting practice, Rodriguez said he did "miss everything about Texas."

Rangers owner Tom Hicks said he had no plans to talk to Rodriguez.

"I'm here to pull for the first-place Texas Rangers," said Hicks, who sat in his front-row seats by the Rangers dugout.

Texas (26-17) entered with the best record in the American League and has led the AL West for nearly three weeks.

The Rangers lost 270 games and finished last in the West in each of Rodriguez's three seasons in Texas, even though he led the AL in home runs each season and was the AL MVP in 2003.

In an interview with ESPN in February, Rodriguez blamed the pressures of his record contract for his decision to use performance-enhancing drugs in Texas.

A week after that, Rodriguez made a personal call to Hicks to apologize. Hicks said then he felt "personally betrayed" by Rodriguez.

Before the Rangers took the field, The Who song "The Kids are Alright" blared over the loudspeaker, an obvious dig at Rodriguez for comments he made after being traded that he would have never gone to Texas if he had been told it would be him "and 24 kids."

This is Rodriguez's eighth series with the Yankees in Texas.

"He got booed here before so I'm pretty sure he'll get booed again," Rangers third baseman Michael Young, who still considers A-Rod one of his good friends, said before the game.

"I'm not really concerned about Alex," third-year Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I know he did some good things here so as many as there will be against him, there are probably the same amount that's for him."

But the negative reaction seemed much louder than any of the previous 22 games Rodriguez played when he visited Texas.

There was a large contingency of Yankees fans in the ballpark, so there were cheers when Rodriguez had an infield RBI single in the first and a run-scoring double in the third.

Mark Teixeira, a former first-round pick of the Rangers, is playing with his third different team since leaving Texas. He had already played at Rangers Ballpark with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels, but this was his first time since signing with the Yankees and being reunited with A-Rod.

Teixeira, who also got booed when introduced, said the reaction from the fans wouldn't affect them and was nothing unusual for the Yankees on the road.

"They can respond however they want," Teixeira said. "It's not going to change anything that Alex does, or anything that we do."

The Rangers were still paying part of A-Rod's salary until he opted out of the original 10-year deal in 2007 and then signed a $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees.

by the associated press

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