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A-Rod: Home run bonus talk 'family business'

MLB.com @BryanHoch

BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez sidestepped questions concerning his contract language and the potential $6 million bonus payment related to his 660th home run this weekend, calling it "family business" that should not be discussed publicly.

"I'm just happy to be playing baseball. [The bonus discussion is] family business," Rodriguez said on Sunday. "That's nowhere near where my energy is these days. My energy is playing the game tonight. Just baseball."

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BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez sidestepped questions concerning his contract language and the potential $6 million bonus payment related to his 660th home run this weekend, calling it "family business" that should not be discussed publicly.

"I'm just happy to be playing baseball. [The bonus discussion is] family business," Rodriguez said on Sunday. "That's nowhere near where my energy is these days. My energy is playing the game tonight. Just baseball."

Full Game Coverage

Rodriguez tied Mays (660) for fourth place on the home run list with his eighth-inning, pinch-hit homer off Junichi Tazawa in Friday's 3-2 Yankees victory over the Red Sox.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Saturday that the team has "the right, but not the obligation," to award a bonus to Rodriguez if it determines certain milestones he reaches are "commercially marketable" in the career home runs chase.

Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million deal signed in 2007 contained a marketing agreement that is separate from his player contract. It stated that the Yankees had the right to designate a "milestone" -- valued at $6 million for each occurrence -- if Rodriguez tied Mays, Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), plus another if Rodriguez set the home run record.

Cashman and Rodriguez both have said that the team is going about the business of competing on the field, together, and that a process is in place to settle any dispute related to the marketing relationship. Rodriguez said that the bonus does not present a distraction for him.

"Not at all," he said. "My energy from Spring Training has been all about baseball."

If Rodriguez disagrees with the decision, he has the right to have the case heard by an arbitrator. The Major League Baseball Players Association has said that it is prepared to step in on Rodriguez's behalf if the bonus payment is withheld by the Yankees.

Rodriguez has said that he considers "lawyer" to be a taboo word after a period in which he filed suit against Major League Baseball and the MLBPA in an attempt to overturn his season-long suspension last season, as well as a medical malpractice suit against Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. Rodriguez dropped the MLB and MLBPA lawsuits in February 2014 and dropped the Ahmad case in June 2014.

"I've been in a good place for a while now, and it's just fun to be playing baseball," Rodriguez said. "I've learned my lesson."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees