Found March 30, 2012 on The Other Paper:

Talk is cheap but not when it comes from the $275 million mouth of Alex Rodriguez. If what A-Rod said yesterday can be taken at face value, New York Yankees fans might want to take it to the bank.

"I want to be a force in the middle of our lineup, someone who drives in a lot of runs to win a lot of games," Rodriguez said.

After hitting coach Kevin Long heard those words, he smiled and said, "I've been waiting for him to say that. That's what he needs to do. That's who he needs to be. Do that and he'll be a monster."

It sounds like A-Rod is feeling pretty good after battling injuries and playing in only 99 games last season.

Rodriguez's optimism about being a "force" and someone who "drives in a lot of big runs" has to be music to the Yankees ears. That what the organization signed him for— not batting .111 with three RBIs in the first round of the playoffs.

"Like Kevin Long always says, 'Production and damage,' that's what it's all about," Rodriguez said.

More music.

Rodriguez struggled last season and it culminated with a horrible five-game series against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS which ended the Yankees season.

The 37-year-old clean up hitter wasn't much of a force and didn't drive in big runs or win games but claims he's turning back the clock.

"I used to do so much so early, it was too much," he said. "It's just about feeling good. The skill is there. This approach worked for me in '09.

"I've learned to just trust the process and that has taken time," he said. "I always want to go out and do more."

Long agrees with his new philosophy.

"He just needs to make sure he takes his 'A' swing," said Long. "I think he is finding the exact amount to do now. He used to overdo it physically and mentally, he used to over-think processes and get himself in trouble up there."

The hitting coach believes A-Rod should just simply commit "100%" to the fastball and react to everything else to regain his swing.

"The more he simplifies, the better he is," said Long. "That's what he is doing when he is talking about driving in runs.

"He's a monster," he added. "I still think he's capable of doing big and special things. If he's healthy, he'll do them."


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