NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez has another long ball under his belt.
Rodriguez went 1-for-4 in his rehab game at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. Starting at third base, A-Rod went yard with a two-run home run to right-center field in the third inning.
“That felt good,” he said after the game, according to the Yankees’ official website. “Anytime I can get the ball up in the air, especially center to right-center field, that’s a good sign.”
The 37-year-old told WFAN radio this week that he would return to New York’s lineup Monday in Texas. That’s still the goal, though he acknowledged the decision is ultimately up to the team.
“I’m excited, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Rodriguez said. “We still have another big challenge, which is the last three days, and I just want to make sure I stay focused and continue to take one pitch at a time.”
His 20-day rehab assignment will end on Sunday, after which point the Yankees either have to activate the third baseman — coming off offseason hip surgery — or place him back on the disabled list.
Yankees president Randy Levine told USA Today that Rodriguez, if he’s ready, will return on Monday.
“We need Alex Rodriguez,” Levine said. “We need a right-handed bat. We need a third baseman. He’s the best third baseman we’ve got. And if he’s hot, he can carry us.”
The Yankees (51-44) are in fourth place in the AL East, six games behind the division-leading Red Sox. New York and Boston will begin a three-game series on Friday.
A-Rod is batting .188 in 11 rehab games, though he’s turned a corner recently. He hit his first home run on Monday night, and his second came Thursday.
“I think we’ve taken a nice, methodical approach to this thing,” Rodriguez said, “and then on Sunday we’ll have a conversation with the front office and see where we go from there.”
Rodriguez told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Wednesday that his camp hasn’t made a plea deal with MLB regarding a possible suspension stemming from the league’s investigation into Biogenesis, the closed anti-aging clinic accused of distributing PEDs to athletes.
“No, that’s not true,” A-Rod said about the plea deal reports.
He added: “At this moment, that’s all we can really discuss on the matter.”
Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using PEDs during his 2001-03 stint with the Rangers. He has denied any involvement with Biogenesis.
“There’s no deal that I’ve instructed anyone to do at this point,” he said.
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