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Saturday, July 13, 2013
Rapid Reaction: A-Rod 0-for-3, two K's

By Chris Girandola

TAMPA, Fla. -- After enduring rainouts the past two days, Alex Rodriguez finally managed to get some action Saturday when the skies stayed calm in Tampa.

Suiting up as the starting third baseman for the Tampa Yankees against the Bradenton Marauders, Rodriguez looked rusty, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, a hit-by-pitch and a run scored as he works toward making a second-half return from offseason hip surgery.

Rodriguez is now 2-for-18 with two singles and five strikeouts, while getting hit by a pitch twice in seven rehab games with Charleston and Tampa, both Class-A squads.

The only test A-Rod got in the field came in the first inning when Bradenton's clean-up hitter, Stetson Allie, hit a slow roller toward the 37-year-old veteran. Rodriguez charged toward the ball, gathered it with his glove on the run and threw to first after Allie had easily crossed the base.

The other ground ball Rodriguez handled came in the seventh inning, with a runner on second and Tampa leading 10-0. Rodriguez easily scooped up the routine grounder from Junior Sosa, looked the runner off at second and threw to first for the out.

In his first at-bat, Rodriguez watched two fastballs from Marauders starter Robby Rowland go wide for balls, looked at a strike, fouled a pitch back to the screen, watched another outside fastball, and then hit a chopper into the hole at third that Bradenton shortstop Alen Hanson corralled. Hanson made a leaping throw to get the slow-running A-Rod at first.

Batting as the leadoff hitter in the third inning, Rodriguez struck out looking on a curveball from Rowland.

In the fifth inning, Rodriguez followed Mason Williams, who led off the frame with a double. A-Rod immediately was greeted with a fastball in his back, grimacing for a moment before making his way to first.

The two runners trotted home on the next pitch when Peter O'Brien sent a fastball from Rowland over the left-field wall.

In his final at-bat, Rodriguez struck out on three pitches against Bradenton reliever Emmanuel De Leon. A-Rod fouled off the first pitch from the 22-year-old right-hander, swung and missed at a fastball and looked at a breaking ball that was called for a strike.

WHAT IT MEANS: Coming off Friday, when Rodriguez reportedly met with MLB officials about his involvement with Tony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic, the veteran Yankee looked bad at the plate. While he did look OK in the field, this resembled Tuesday's showing, when he struck out twice and grounded out once in another 0-for-3 performance.

A HELPING HAND: Rodriguez has spent a lot of time during his rehab stint talking to and assisting the members of the Yankees' Class-A teams with every bit of baseball knowledge he can impart. On Saturday, A-Rod warmed up with a few different players, played catch with Yankees shortstop prospect Dan Fiorito and interacted with several teammates and opponents throughout the contest. In addition, he graciously signed autographs before and after the game for a majority of the fans in attendance at George M. Steinbrenner Field (albeit a small crowd of about 1,500).

WHAT'S NEXT: If things go according to A-Rod's original plan that he had stipulated on Wednesday, he will be the designated hitter with Tampa in Sunday's 1 p.m. contest against Bradenton.