Alex Rodriguez expects to play tomorrow. After another day of fielding, hitting and conditioning drills, Rodriguez believes he’s in game shape and plans to be in the lineup for the series finale here in Minneapolis.
“The only way I wouldn’t is if he came in and said, ‘You know, I don’t feel good today,’” Joe Girardi said. “Then we wait. But it’s very possible he’ll be a player for us tomorrow.”
Day-by-day, Rodriguez said he’s felt less winded running the bases, and he’s felt more comfortable in the field. He’s hoping to be in the lineup and in the field tomorrow, and Girardi said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of playing Rodriguez at third base.
“The work I’ve been able to do here, you’d never be able to do in Tampa or Scranton,” Rodriguez said. “We had full drills with Mick Kelleher at third base, did pretty much everything defensively except dive for a ball. My work with Dana was really good, really intense. Then I had a really good session again with Kevin Long. We’ve checked every box pretty much.”
Girardi said there’s no temptation to simply wait until Tuesday so that Rodriguez gets an even longer break with the off day. Rodriguez has had enough days off as it is. He doesn’t need another.
“Dana has put me through some extensive workouts and I’ve woken up really good, better each day,” Rodriguez said. “We’re progressing well each day and we have Monday to fall back on, then come back at it strong Tuesday.”
• Aaron Laffey showed up about three hours before first pitch. He’s not a very big guy, but the Yankees are encouraged by his stats from earlier this season. If he doesn’t pitch in tonight’s game, he’ll throw a bullpen because he hasn’t been on a mound in a while.
• Laffey grew up in Maryland, and it turns out he grew up a Yankees fan. He said it’s “a little crazy” to be in a clubhouse with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. He grew up a big fan of Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill. And, of course, he loved Don Mattingly. “All-time favorite,” Laffey said.
• Laffey said CC Sabathia was a kind of mentor for him in Cleveland. He said Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Carl Pavano sort of took him under their wing. He was making some small talk with Sabathia in the clubhouse dining room not long after getting his locker situated.
• Girardi said Rodriguez realized in his rehab games that his conditioning wasn’t game-ready. That’s why he played the games, then started the workout program (it’s usually the other way around). “I think it probably told him what he needed,” Girardi said. “He felt pretty good when he started playing the games, but I think there’s some hurdles when you come back from an injury that you have to get over. Is my leg going to be stable? Will it hold up? Can I do the things I want to do? I think he’s found out that, yes I can.”
• What is Girardi looking for out of A.J. Burnett today? “Just go out and compete,” Girardi said. “Throw strikes. Locate. For A.J. it’s mixing his pitches just like Hughes did yesterday, and locate.”
Ben Revere CF
Trevor Plouffe RF
Joe Mauer C
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Danny Valencia 3B
Rene Tosoni LF
Luke Hughes 2B
Matt Tolbert SS
Associated Press photo