Rodriguez Says He’ll Be in Yankee Lineup July 22 for Texas Game

Alex Rodriguez said he’s planning to make his Major League Baseball season debut July 22 when the New York Yankees visit the Texas Rangers, returning from hip surgery amid a performance-enhancing drug investigation.

“I will be back on Monday and I’m very excited,” Rodriguez said yesterday in an interview on WFAN Radio.

Rodriguez, who turns 38 on July 27, had left hip surgery in January. He’s played 10 games during a 20-day minor-league rehab assignment that ends July 20, after which the Yankees must decide whether to activate him or again place him on the disabled list.

Rodriguez is scheduled to move today to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, one step below the major leagues.

An e-mail seeking comment from Jason Zillo, a spokesman for the Yankees, on Rodriguez’s return wasn’t immediately returned. Brian Cashman, the team’s general manager, said in an interview with ESPN that he hopes Rodriguez will be available for the Texas series, though “we have to get through the weekend, and then we will evaluate it.”

Rodriguez, who is fifth on baseball’s career list with 647 home runs, is among players being investigated for alleged links to a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Florida that the Miami New Times said provided players with performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez denied reports in the New York Daily News that he’s advised his representatives to discuss possible deals with baseball to limit any suspension.

“No, that’s not true,” he said. “There’s no deal that I’ve instructed anyone to do at this point.”

He declined to address the matter further.

Rapid Progress

Rodriguez is 5-for-28 during his minor-league stint, with six strikeouts and one home run -- a two-run shot for the Double-A Trenton Thunder this week.

“That’s something that I know for sure I couldn’t do in August, September, October last year,” he said. “I couldn’t even do that last week, so the progression’s coming very well.”

The Yankees exit the All-Star break tomorrow with a series at the Boston Red Sox, who lead the American League East with a 58-39 record. New York is six games back in the division at 51-44, also trailing the Tampa Bay Rays (55-41) and Baltimore Orioles (53-43).

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