NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mother knows best.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez returned to Park Avenue on Thursday night to thank supporters participating in a candlelight vigil outside MLB headquarters -- after some prodding from the matriarch.
"I talked to my mom," Rodriguez told the New York Post. "My mom's like, 'Get back there to thank those great people.'
"It's obviously emotional. People are out there for eight, 10 hours a day. The least I can do is come shake their hands."
A-Rod's supporters, led by Hispanics Across America president Fernando Mateo, have been out en masse since his appeal hearing began Monday. Rodriguez is fighting a 211-game suspension for his reported ties to Biogenesis, the shuttered Florida clinic at the heart of baseball's latest performance-enhancing drugs scandal.
A-Rod addressed those who remained shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday.
Mateo translated Rodriguez's speech, delivered in Spanish, for the Post: "I'm sorry if I haven't acknowledged you, but I want you to know that I truly care, and I truly appreciate the fact that you're here for me. You don't know me, but my mother, my children, my family, my friends, we all appreciate the fact that although they're not here, they know that you're here. My community. My people. I'm Dominican, and I love you all."
On Thursday morning, Mateo joined WFAN's "Boomer & Carton" show to defend his group, blasting MLB and the Yankees in the process.
"A-Rod deserves to be punished, but he does not deserve to be crucified," Mateo said in the testy exchange with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. "That's all we're saying."
Rodriguez told the Post that he wasn't paying the supporters.
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