TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez finally came through, collecting a single and his first RBI in six rehab games while going 1-for-3 as the designated hitter for the Tampa Yankees on Wednesday.
"I thought my work before the game was good, after was really good," said Rodriguez, who is 2-for-15 with two singles and three strikeouts and a hit-by-pitch as he works toward making a second-half return from offseason hip surgery. "It's a process. There are going to be good days and bad days. Today was a good day."
Of the three at-bats, Rodriguez made contact on six of the seven strikes he saw. Besides the line drive single and three foul balls, he grounded out to short in his first plate appearance and sliced a sharp liner to the second baseman for an out in his second at-bat.
"I thought I was pretty explosive today," Rodriguez said. "Yesterday, the swing was good. The pitch selection yesterday was poor. Today, I swung at three strikes and made pretty good contact. I thought the ball came off the bat really nice. I thought my takes were a lot better than they have been."
After Ben Gamel led off the sixth inning with a double, A-Rod drove in a 2-2 fastball from Dunedin right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx to briefly give Tampa a 2-1 lead. Tampa eventually lost the game 5-2.
"I'm happy about the three at-bats and hitting two balls on the nose," said Rodriguez, who exited the game after the sixth. "I'm just trying to be patient and when they come into my kill zone, I want to make them pay."
After the single, Rodriguez didn't have to further test out his surgically-repaired hip on the base paths. He stayed at first over the next two batters.
Following his exit, Rodriguez spent considerable time taking ground balls on a separate field.
"My lateral movement is good," said Rodriguez, who announced he'll play third base for Tampa in Thursday's 5 p.m. contest and then take a day off on Friday. "Once again, it's a process. Things are looking good."
Coming off Tuesday when he looked rusty at the plate and in the field, Rodriguez demonstrated improved bat speed Wednesday, perhaps due his work with former Yankee Reggie Jackson, who is down in Tampa to offer advice.
"Reggie's great," he said. "It's kind of like golf. You come in, cool down, hit some balls and feel good before you go home. Reggie's always good at that."
On Wednesday, however, baseball wasn't A-Rod's only concern.
With news of a possible suspension swirling, Rodriguez didn't offer any information about the supposed meeting with MLB officials except to say he was planning on playing in games with Tampa on Saturday and Sunday.
After that, he hopes his timetable includes a trip up north to play for either Triple-A Scranton or Double-A Trenton starting next week.
"I just am anxious to get up there and help the team," Rodriguez said when asked if he would be the designated hitter upon his return to the Bronx. "I'm not the boss. Joe [Girardi] is. I'll do whatever he wants me to do. Whatever I can do to help."