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Saturday, July 20, 2013
A-Rod: 'Slow' is my speed right now

By Ian Begley

MOOSIC, Pa. -- No one really knows quite what to expect from Alex Rodriguez when he returns to the Bronx.

But here's one thing you can count on: He's going to be slow.

On Friday night for Triple-A Scranton, Rodriguez was thrown out trying to reach second on a hard liner to left. It seemed like a ball that most big leaguers would have legged out for a double. But A-Rod was out by several feet.

"If you were watching on TV, I promise it wasn't [running] in slow motion," Rodriguez said with a grin after the game. "It was in real speed. That's how fast I'm moving right now. I feel good, slow, but I feel good. That's my speed right now."

Rodriguez doesn't expect to get any faster as he continues to rehab from his surgically-repaired hip.

"That's about what you're going to get," he said. "You might get a little faster -- but I wouldn't expect much more speed than that."

Rodriguez will turn 38 later this month, so it makes sense that he's lost a step or two on the basepaths over the years.

He's only stolen 21 bases over the last three seasons, so the Yanks won't be losing much if A-Rod is now "AARP-Rod" on the basepaths.

"I'm sure I can outrun some guys out there. I think other guys have done it, I think I can do it," A-Rod said. "I've been in this body for a while now ... it's been slow for a little bit."

Of greater concern for the Yankees is Rodriguez's play at third base. Rodriguez has said several times that he is "several weeks" behind where he'd like to be in the field. But A-Rod remains confident that he can play third regularly for the Bombers.

"It'll catch up," he said. "It's going to just take a little time."

One positive for A-Rod as he inches closer to a return to the Bronx is his timing at the plate. He went 2-for-4 with two singles on Friday night. Overall, Rodriguez is 8-for-36 with two homers and eight strikeouts in 12 rehab games. But two of those homers have come in the past four games.

"I'm seeing progress," he said.

Sunday is the final day of Rodriguez's 20-day stint. At that point, the Yankees have to decide whether they want to recall Rodriguez to the majors or keep him on the disabled list. Brian Cashman has said Rodriguez, who is embroiled in baseball's Biogenesis scandal, will rejoin the big club if he is healthy.

Rodriguez will play third base on Saturday and, possibly, Sunday for Scranton. But, truth be told, he'd rather be in Boston with the big club.

"I would do anything right now to be in Fenway playing some baseball," he said.