Alex Rodriguez failed to get a hit in his first two at-bats since last year’s Major League Baseball playoffs as the New York Yankees third baseman began a rehabilitation stint with the minor-league Charleston RiverDogs.
Rodriguez, 37, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player who had hip surgery in January, has 20 days to get into shape for his return to the Yankees or be placed back on the disabled list.
Rodriguez grounded into a double play and struck out looking against 23-year-old Williams Perez in his first two plate appearances last night for the Yankees’ Class-A affiliate. He left the game after playing three innings at third base and before the RiverDogs beat Rome 4-2.
“I’m just happy to be back playing,” Rodriguez told reporters. “I feel like a kid again.”
Rodriguez barehanded a bunt by Rome leadoff hitter Kyle Wren in the first inning at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark in Charleston, South Carolina. Rodriguez failed to throw Wren out at first.
“That’s a ‘welcome back’ for me,” Rodriguez said. “That was a heck of a bunt.”
Rodriguez said he probably will need the full three weeks of rehabilitation before returning to the Yankees.
“It’s a slow progression,” Rodriguez said. “Three innings is not a heck of a lot. Two at-bats is not much. It almost feels like March 1 in spring training and that’s basically the approach.”
Rodriguez hit .272 last year with 18 home runs and 57 runs batted in. He batted .120 with 12 strikeouts in 25 at-bats in the postseason and had surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
Baseball is investigating Rodriguez’s link to a now-shuttered anti-aging clinic in Florida that the Miami New Times said provided players with performance-enhancing drugs.
The Yankees have been plagued by injuries this season. Still on the disabled list are catcher Francisco Cervelli, center fielder Curtis Granderson, shortstops Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez, pitcher Michael Pineda, first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
The Yankees (44-39) are in fourth place in the American League East, six games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox (51-34).
Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and Alberto Gonzalez drove in three runs last night in the Yankees’ 7-3 victory at the Minnesota Twins.
Phil Hughes (4-7) gave up one run on six hits in seven innings for the Yankees, who have won two in a row after dropping five straight. Samuel Deduno (4-3) allowed three runs on five hits in six innings for the Twins.
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