ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Barring emergencies, Alex Rodriguez will not play third base or first anymore this season.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday he prefers using A-Rod solely as a designated hitter going forward.

“I think it helps from the energy standpoint,” Girardi said before Wednesday’s 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay. “His legs — not getting beat up, not having to drive for balls. In my mind we’ll play him a lot more if we DH him. If we have to adjust it, we’ll adjust it.”

Rodriguez turns 40 in July and has had surgery on both hips. He has played the past week with soreness in his left hamstring.

“It feels better today,” said Rodriguez, who went 1 for 5 with a strikeout.

Rodriguez has started two games at third and one at first base.

“I’m totally on board with whatever Joe wants,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve said that since Day 1.”

Rodriguez said he is getting used to the DH routine.

“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “I feel it gives me the opportunity to stay healthy, to be fresher.”

The Yankees had Stephen Drew fill in for Chase Headley at third base Wednesday. Headley has started 31 of 35 games.

“He’s kind of beat up,” Girardi said. “He needs a day off.”

Drew took grounders at third Tuesday in preparation for his first professional start at the position. He also has started at second base and shortstop this year.

“It’s definitely something new,” Drew said. “I think it will be fine.”

TOUGH LOVE FROM POSADA

If Jorge Posada’s comments got to Rodriguez, he wasn’t showing it.

In an interview that aired Wednesday morning on CBS, Posada said PED-tainted players — including A-Rod, his former teammate with the Yankees — don’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

“I consider Jorgie a friend,” A-Rod said. “I have nothing but good things to say about Jorgie. He was a great player and a good teammate and we won a championship in ’09 together.”

On WFAN, Posada said it was difficult to speak negatively about Rodriguez.

For his part, A-Rod said it won’t be awkward when he runs into the Bombers great in the Bronx.

“Not at all,” Rodriguez said. “Jorge is a friend. We’ll keep it simple. Keep it light.”

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