CAP CANA, Dominican Republic — Dressed all in black, controversial Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez turned heads when he arrived at a charity event hosted by David Ortiz on Friday night.
With his girlfriend, retired professional wrestler Torrie Wilson, by his side, Rodriguez made his way to a table and had dinner as photographers surrounded him.
The baseball world is waiting for a decision from arbiter Fredric Horowitz on whether the 211-game suspension of Rodriguez by Major League Baseball will be upheld. Rodriguez has been charged with taking performance-enhancing drugs and impeding baseball's investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.
Horowitz is reviewing what was a contentious appeals hearing and is expected to announce a decision next month. Legal wranglings have been going on since the summer and Rodriguez could take baseball to federal court if he disagrees with the outcome.
"I feel good. I have limits what I can talk about. I look forward to Horowitz making a decision and putting this behind me and getting back to hitting in the middle of the lineup," Rodriguez said.
"I'm optimistic, hopefully. It's been a very tough several months. Very tough year. I'm optimistic that [a decision] will come soon," he said. "We can get it behind us and take all the stuff off the back pages and focus on playing baseball and all great things that are happening with the game.
"Make a decision, whatever happens, let's move forward."
Rodriguez, 38, hit .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs over 44 games last season.
"I'm doing everything that I can, in my power, to get ready for spring training. This is the best I've felt in any offseason in a long time. My work is going very well," he said.
If he is eligible to play, Rodriguez would join a Yankees team that has added Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Jacoby Ellsbury to offset the departure of Robinson Cano to Seattle.
"We've made some strong moves. I'm looking forward to being a righthanded bat in the middle of that lineup," he said. "Cano's my little brother. I'm obviously happy for him and his family and I think he's going to have a fantastic career over there."
Rodriguez spent time in Santo Domingo earlier this week. He will participate in Ortiz's celebrity golf tournament on Saturday.
I’ve been coming here for a long time," he said. "The support I’ve received from the fans and the teams, and the players all around baseball has helped me get through this. It's tough to get through this. I’m just looking forward to getting a decision, put it behind me and get back to playing good baseball.
Ortiz, who invited Rodriguez, reserved comment about his legal battles.
“I’ve been his friend and I support him. If he is suspended, he’ll have to take that punishment,” Ortiz said. “I don’t know what happened.”