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A-Rod calls return 'a great challenge'

NEW YORK (AP) - Alex Rodriguez says he's committed to returning from hip surgery and is looking forward to proving he can regain the form that made him a three-time AL MVP.

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The New York Yankees third baseman spoke before Monday's opener against Boston, his first public comments since the Jan. 16 operation on his left hip. His surgeon said A-Rod should be able to return to the Yankees around the All-Star break, and Rodriguez says that was the same schedule he's heard.

Rodriguez says: ``I love when all these people say, `You can't do this. You can't do that. You're done. You're old.'''

He adds that ``it's a great challenge to prove all you guys wrong.''

He is declining to comment on the January report in Miami New Times alleging he received performance-enhancing drugs from a Florida anti-aging clinic, other than to say he stands by the denial he issued then through a spokesman.

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