Alex Rodriguez booed in first game since doping charges

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees runs between first and third base on a hit by Vernon Wells during a game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 5, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Updated 5 a.m. ET Aug. 6, 2013

CHICAGO Alex Rodriguez stepped up to the plate greeted by a standing boo-vation and blooped a single in his first at-bat of the season.

Hours after Major League Baseball suspended the New York Yankees star through the 2014 season in the Biogenesis drug case, Chicago White Sox fans got their say Monday night.

And, boy, did they let him hear it.

They jeered him during pregame warmups and introductions, and they really tore into him when he walked to the batter's box leading off the second inning.

On the third pitch, Rodriguez dunked a hit into shallow left field. He made it to third base with no outs, but was stranded.

Rodriguez flied out in his next two at-bats and then took a called third strike in the eighth inning while fans chanted "Steroids! Steroids!" He also handled a few grounders at third base as Chicago snapped a 10-game losing streak with an 8-1 win over the struggling Yankees.

Rodriguez shrugged off the reaction. "I love Chicago," he said. "I love the fans here. It's just a great town, great people. I'm just so humbled being on the field, being able to play the game I love."

At 38 and coming back from hip surgery, Rodriguez said he's fighting for his career.

He did not deny using performance-enhancing drugs in a news conference at U.S. Cellular Field after the punishment came down, and he said he will talk about whether he used PEDs at another time when he is more free to speak.

He did, however, dig in for a battle, saying no one else will defend him unless he stands up for himself. Then, he took to the field, batting fourth against the White Sox.

"There's nothing about it that's been easy," Rodriguez said. "All of it has been challenging. I'm sure there's been mistakes made along the way. We're here now. I'm a human being. I've had two hip surgeries. I've had two knee surgeries. I'm fighting for my life. I have to defend myself. If I don't defend myself, no one else will. There's a process. I'm happy with the process. In due time, hopefully whatever happens, happens."

Clearly emotional, Rodriguez said he was thankful to be given the opportunity to put his uniform back on, but dodged questions about his guilt or innocence.

"When the time is right, there will be the opportunity to discuss all that. I don't think the time is right now," he said.

The Yankees are hoping something good happens with him on the field. They're out of playoff position and desperate for power, especially their third basemen -- the players they've had playing that spot this season had a combined 32 RBIs, fewest in the majors according to STATS, and were hitting .215 with four homers.

Rodriguez, with 647 career home runs, arrived at the ballpark in a dark gray Cadillac around 3:10 p.m. CT and waved when a fan shouted "A-Rod!" on his way into the stadium.

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