Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez nearing 1st spring game

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Alex Rodriguez feels fine after his first week of workouts, and will leave the decision of when he makes his spring training debut to New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

The Yankees begin exhibition play Tuesday against Philadelphia at the Phillies’ camp.

“I’ll talk to Joe first,” Rodriguez said Sunday. “If I’m in the lineup, I’ll play, yeah. So far, so good. No setbacks.”

Girardi said he’ll announce Monday whether Rodriguez will be in the lineup for the spring opener.

“Just making sure he’s physically ready to play,” Girardi said.

Suspended for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract, Rodriguez missed all of last season and is trying to return as his 40th birthday approaches in July.

Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman say Chase Headley will be their starting third baseman and Rodriguez will compete for at-bats at designated hitter.

Rodriguez has been working out at third and first base, and could see limited time at both. He is using his infield glove at both positions while breaking in a new first baseman’s glove.

“I’m not worried about today,” Girardi said. “The real tests come in the games, and that’s what we’ve got to see.”

The three-time AL MVP has not played a full season since 2007 because the suspension, operations on both hips and other injuries.

Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner shook hands and talked briefly Sunday with Rodriguez, who was changing fields for defensive drills. Steinbrenner said last week that he’s looking ahead and not back with Rodriguez.

Girardi did announce that Adam Warren will start Tuesday’s game. Nathan Eovaldi will pitch in Wednesday’s exhibition home opener with the Phillies and Esmil Rogers will start Thursday against Pittsburgh.

NOTES: RHP Masahiro Tanaka is expected to throw batting practice for the first time Monday. The Japanese right-hander missed 2 1/2 months last season with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. … CC Sabathia will have his fourth bullpen session Monday before advancing to batting practice later in the week. The left-hander was hobbled by a degenerative cartilage problem in his right knee last season that resulted in season-ending surgery in July. … Michael Pineda threw batting practice for the first time. He went 5-5 with an 1.89 ERA in 13 starts last season after missing the previous two years with a right shoulder injury. “You get excited when you think about sending him out there and getting 30 to 32 starts, and what he could possibly do for your team,” Girardi said. … RHP Ivan Nova (elbow ligament surgery) said he will throw changeups for the first time off a mound Tuesday and appears on target to return by June. … The Yankees will use a pitching machine as part of an intrasquad game Monday.

This article was written by Mark Didtler from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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