TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez joked that it has been a long time since he last homered. Although he just missed getting one Sunday, A-Rod thought he was making progress.
Rodriguez had a run-scoring double and two RBIs for Class A Tampa, his first extra-base hit during a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Rodriguez was 1 for 3 with a walk as the designated hitter against Bradenton. Coming back from hip surgery in January, he is scheduled to join Double-A Trenton for Monday’s Eastern League game at Reading in Pennsylvania.
“I’m very excited to be going up, absolutely,” Rodriguez said. “I think we’re on schedule. It was a very good week. Things are moving forward.”
Rodriguez is 3 for 21 (.143) with three RBIs and six strikeouts during his injury rehab. He drove in a run during the fifth with a double to the base of the center-field fence at Steinbrenner Field.
“I did like the way I swung the bat today,” Rodriguez said. “That ball felt good off the bat. I’d to see me do that back to back days, driving the ball a little more consistently.”
Rodriguez was credited with a second RBI on an unusual fielder’s choice. Right fielder Willy Garcia dropped Rodriguez’s fly ball with two on, then threw to second for a forceout as the other runner scored from second base.
“That’s one thing about A ball, you see things you’ve never seen before, and I’ve never seen that, but that was pretty funny,” Rodriguez said. “I think getting the ball in the air for me is probably the most important thing. Just getting the ball up into the air to center field and the other way, to me, those are good signs.”
Rodriguez drew a first-inning walk and struck out on a foul tip that ended the third.
Rodriguez has played eight games for Tampa and Charleston, both Class A clubs. His rehab assignment can extend through July 21, after which he expects to return to the big leagues.
“That’s the target, the 22nd,” Rodriguez said, looking ahead to the Yankees’ game at the Texas Rangers. “I’m very much looking forward to that date.”
Rodriguez said his legs feel fine as he advances to the next rehab step. He worked out on a back field Sunday for 35 minutes, taking 70 swings over eight rounds of batting practice and fielding 25 grounders.
“The reports have been OK,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in New York. “Physically he’s doing OK, and just keep rehabbing and trying to lengthen him out, play him a couple of days in a row and see what we have after the 20 days.”
Rodriguez met Friday in the Tampa with Major League Baseball officials investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
MLB investigators are looking into the closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Rodriguez has said he used PEDs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has denied using them since. He was linked to Biogenesis in a report in January by Miami New Times.
Rodriguez has said that he has been told not to discuss the situation.
“I’m going to let the due process play out,” Rodriguez said.
Asked about a report Sunday in the New York Daily News that his lawyers are discussing whether to seek an agreement from MLB on a 150-game suspension rather than face a possible lengthier ban, Rodriguez responded: “I don’t know anything about that.”
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