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A-Rod Takes Key Step In Rehab; Yankees’ Girardi Says Return Next Week ‘Is Realistic’

(credit: AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

(credit: AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – The Yankees are about to get a boon to their lineup and a possible distraction in the clubhouse.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will meet with Major League Baseball regarding his alleged involvement in an underground, high-stakes poker game, was upbeat after running the bases for the first time in his recovery from knee surgery and could soon be back with the team.

“I think next week is realistic,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Tuesday night’s 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Yankees hope the All-Star slugger could rejoin them for a series at Kansas City.

A-Rod had surgery on his right knee in mid July. He took a key step in his rehab program by running from first to second and first to third four times each during his latest workout. Base running is usually the final step before an injured position player starts in minor league games.

“It’s all good stuff,” Rodriguez said.

The session Tuesday was moved from the Yankees’ minor league complex to their spring training site at George Steinbrenner Field for the second straight day because of rain.

Rodriguez hit off a tee and did a soft-toss session in an indoor cage. A break in the weather allowed the ground crew to take the tarp off the field so Rodriguez could run and field grounders. He took 57 swings in batting practice indoors when the rain returned.

Rodriguez is hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs. He had surgery on the right knee July 14.

Also, left-hander Pedro Feliciano, who hasn’t pitched this season because of a tear in his left shoulder, threw 42 pitches off a mound in a cage and is scheduled for batting practice on Friday.

Backup infielder Ramiro Pena, who had an appendectomy on July 18, has resumed swinging a bat.

Reliever Damaso Marte, coming back from left shoulder surgery, had a 32-pitch mound session. Converter reliever Mark Prior, out because of a groin strain and back soreness, pitched in a rookie-level Gulf Coast League game.

Will A-Rod be a major distraction or a needed boost? Sound off below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)