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Saturday, June 1, 2013
Pregame Notes: Joe says no A-Rod setback

By Matt Ehalt

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip) is not running the bases and has not moved along in his ground ball progression during his rehab in Tampa, according to Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Girardi said that Rodriguez has not had a setback.

"That's a step he's going to have to make," Girardi said before Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game. "He's going to have to make the step of -- he jogs -- but running more full speed so he can do the bases and he hasn't made that yet."

Girardi said Rodriguez is taking grounders and doing batting practice, although he's been stationary while fielding grounders and batting practices have not been live sessions. He also said that Rodriguez has a long line of progressions he will need to go through before he can return to the Bronx.

It's been projected that Rodriguez will return to the Yankees following the All-Star break in mid-July. The Yankees have used a mixture of players at third this season, with Kevin Youkilis, Chris Nelson, David Adams and Jason Nix all starting games at the hot corner.

ICHIRO STRUGGLES: Since raising his average to .282 on May 10, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has struggled. He's hitting just .213 with one RBI since then, and has a .226 on-base percentage in that stretch. Suzuki is hitting .257 on the year.

"His at-bats have been consistent for me," Girardi said. "He got to .280 and then he went through a struggle. When a guy of his stature struggles like that, in a sense, it's a little bit shocking because of all the success. I just feel it's kind of what hitters go through. They go through streaks. ... He's going to grind it out and that's what he's going to do. He'll figure it out."

LINEUP NOTES: Youkilis will be the designated hitter for the second straight day on Saturday, but he will play third base for the first time since April 19 in Sunday night's series finale. Youkilis missed 30 games with back issues.

The manager said there's just as much, if not more, concern about Youkilis' back when he's hitting as when he's playing the field. "I think hitting can be just as irritating because of the rotation," Girardi said. "I think with backs a lot of the time you worry about the rotation more than anything."

JETER STICKS AROUND: Derek Jeter has been around the team as he rehabs his left ankle. Girardi believes it's a benefit for both Jeter and the team.

"For a player you always want to feel like you're a part of it. Sometimes when you go down to Tampa to rehab you feel like there's a good distance between what you really want to do and what you're doing. Mentally, I think it's good for players to be around. It's great to have him around," Girardi said. "He's encouraging, he's upbeat all the time. For a guy that is used to playing every day his attitude has been really pretty uplifting considering what he's going through. You don't see him pouting. You see him working and trying to get better and that's good to see."

DOUBLEHEADER: The Yankees will play a separate admission day-night doubleheader on Aug. 20 against Toronto to make up for the rainout on May 19. The Yankees are 8-1 against Toronto.