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Reggie Returns

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By JANIE McCAULEY  AP Baseball Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Reggie Jackson rejoined the New York
Yankees as special adviser Thursday and was in uniform for the
opener of a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics after he
made critical comments of slugger Alex Rodriguez and other former
stars.

Jackson, a Hall of Famer nicknamed Mr. October for his
postseason heroics, said last week he made a mistake questioning
the credentials of A-Rod and others. The former A’s and Yankees
star told Sports Illustrated that some of Rodriguez’s statistics
were tainted by his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Manager Joe Girardi said Thursday it’s time for everyone to move
forward, and he is happy to have Jackson back.
“I think it’s all behind us. I think that’s the most important
thing,” Girardi said. “I think Reg has made a number of calls to
try to rectify everything. I’m OK with it. I’m glad he’s here.
Let’s just move on.”

Jackson declined to comment as he made his way through the
clubhouse before New York took the field at the Coliseum for
batting practice. He
“No. I’m here, like you, to watch the game _ watch them keep
winning,” Jackson said before heading out to the field, where he
chatted up Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson behind the batting cage.

Jackson _ who had initially been set to be away indefinitely
from the club, perhaps until late in the season _ stood perched
against the cage as Rodriguez and the rest of the players took
their batting practice cuts.

Jackson has spoken to Rodriguez to explain his comments.
Jackson also said he didn’t see Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett and
others as Hall of Famers. Jackson is skipping this weekend’s Hall
festivities in Cooperstown.

The 1977 World Series MVP with the Yankees, Jackson didn’t
travel to Boston for New York’s four-game series at Fenway Park
right before the All-Star break to avoid becoming a distraction.
And he wanted to stay under the radar again Thursday _ as much as
he could given the circumstances, that is.

Jackson told SI that A-Rod was a friend, while adding: “But I
think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like
him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his
records.”

Jackson also said there were several players that he didn’t view
as worthy of Cooperstown.
“I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see
Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall
of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I
like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer,” Jackson was
quoted by SI.

Carter died in February and several former players have
criticized the timing of Jackson’s remarks.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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