Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A-Rod shooting for Monday return to Yankees, claims he made no deal with MLB

Alex Rodriguez's long road back to the majors seems to be coming to a conclusion and, if you believe him, A-Rod will be back in pinstripes by Monday.

The maligned third baseman begins his final push to rejoin the Yankees on Thursday night when he starts at third base for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as it hosts Louisville. The slugger, out all season after a second hip surgery in January, will round out his 20-day minor league rehab assignment by playing four straight days with the RailRiders.

He said Wednesday he is optimistic that after that he can return to the big league club next week in Texas.

"I am within striking distance of Monday now," A-Rod told Mike Francesa on WFAN radio. "That makes me excited ... like a ten-year-old boy."



After playing two games here for Double-A Trenton, A-Rod's move to Scranton puts him right on target to join a Yankees lineup that needs a lift. GM Brian Cashman has indicated that he would like to improve the club's offense if possible before the trading deadline.

"It's the plan that we talked about in Charleston (where the assignment began July 2 and 3) and we haven't deviated, not even one step with the exception of a little rain here and there," Rodriguez said after batting practice, infield, weightlifting and sprints at FirstEnegry Stadium. "So we're on schedule."

He told Francesa: "Feels pretty good ... going to play four (games) in Scranton and then hopefully strap it up."

There is no guarantee that he'll be with the Yankees for long with the Biogenesis scandal hanging over his head.

Asked about the rumor if he made a deal with Major League Baseball about the length of a possible suspension, A-Rod claimed that's just what it is — a rumor.

"That's not true," he said. "No deal that I have instructed anyone to do at this point. That's all we can really discuss on the matter."

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Rodriguez has played 10 games thus far and is 5-for-28 with a home run and six RBI. Asked about how he is looking to perform in this next stretch, he answered "I have no idea. I feel good though."

He did not play in the Thunder's game on Wednesday but felt it a good sign that he felt well enough that he could have after playing four games in the previous four days, the first time he's done that.

"I'm encouraged that I feel like I can play and play well today," A-Rod said. "So after playing four straight games, seven- or eight-plus innings (in each), and being able to play today if I had to, that's a great sign."

During at least one of the next four games, Rodriguez said he will be the RailRiders' designated hitter.


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