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Yankees' star A-Rod mum on contract, has four seasons left

TAMPA, Fla. &

Alex Rodriguez declined to talk about his contract situation Thursday, one day after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he would not discuss an extension with the third baseman.

Rodriguez has four seasons left in the record $252 million, 10-year agreement he signed with Texas before the 2001 season, but he can opt out of the deal after this season.

He is owed $27 million in each of the final three seasons &

with the Yankees responsible for $50.7 million and the Rangers owing $30.3 million, including $9 million in deferred money.

"It can come up every day of the year," Rodriguez said Thursday before departing for a road spring training game against Cincinnati. "I'm going to give you the same answer. Nothing has changed. I'm not going to talk about my contract."

Rodriguez said earlier this year that he wants to spend the rest of his playing career with the Yankees. But in a radio interview, he also indicated how the fans treat him could be a factor in his decision.

Rodriguez said he won't discuss his contract status until after the season and that the matter will not be a distraction.

"Not at all," Rodriguez said. When asked if Cashman's comments might have been a response to an inquiry from his agent Scott Boras, Rodriguez said "No."

Also, Andy Pettitte has not resumed throwing after experiencing back spasms Monday. He will miss his scheduled start Friday in a minor league game, and said the back is still locking up a "little bit."

"I'm feeling a lot better," Pettitte said. "I just want to take care of it and get it right."

New York manager Joe Torre said Pettitte won't throw until the back is 100 percent.

Pettitte or Chien-Ming Wang could start opening day on April 2 against Tampa Bay.