By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Saying he had a responsibility to give back, Alex Rodriguez briefly addressed the drug scandal that has enveloped his life for the last week Friday night when Miami formally renamed its baseball field in his honor.
With his name affixed to the scoreboard in left field, Rodriguez -- who was greeted by a 45-second standing ovation -- spoke in public for the first time since acknowledging he took banned substances as a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003.
"I have been so fortunate to have received so much from a game I love so much," Rodriguez said. "That doesn't mean I haven't made mistakes, and unless you've been in a cave under the ocean this last week, you know that I've made some. What it does mean is that I understand only in America can you dream big, work hard, and be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams."
Rodriguez spoke for about seven minutes, opening his remarks by acknowledging the dozens of cameras there for his appearance -- his "dysfunctional family," Rodriguez called that group -- and closing by mentioning the scandal that shook baseball.
He asked this year's Miami baseball team to stand, and had a brief message for them.
"There will be adversity along the way," Rodriguez said. "But regardless of the challenges that lie ahead, move forward, address your errors and right your path."