Joe Girardi: A-Rod 'penciled in'

Updated: August 5, 2013, 4:17 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

SAN DIEGO -- He did use the phrase "penciled in," but as of now, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he is planning on using Alex Rodriguez in his starting lineup when the Yankees open a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago Monday night.

Provided, of course, that his lightning-rod third baseman is available to him.

"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what's going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this?" Girardi said, referring to the suspensions expected to be handed down by MLB Monday in regards to the Biogenesis case. "[But] in my mind I have him penciled in there tomorrow."

MLB planned an announcement Monday, a person familiar with the deliberations told The Associated Press.

The Yankees expect Rodriguez to be eligible to play Monday night, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, because they expect his suspension to be tied solely to a drug-policy violation and thus eligible to be appealed.

There had been some thought that commissioner Bud Selig would try to suspend Rodriguez under the "best interests of baseball" clause, which would have made the suspension effective immediately.

Rodriguez has maintained that he would appeal any suspension under the MLB drug policy, which would make him eligible to play until such an appeal is heard.

Rodriguez's suspension will likely run through the end of the 2014 season, sources told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Saturday. About 12 other players will also be suspended Monday, according to sources.

Barring an agreement, Rodriguez's appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

Asked about his use of the word "penciled," Girardi said, "That's just a term. None of us use pencils or pens. We type."

Then he added, "I'm not going to bring him up to sit him."

Rodriguez could help the Yankees' struggling offense which could be without Derek Jeter who is dealing with a strained right calf.

"I would say we need him a lot," said Robinson Cano. "If you can see, we don't have Jeter right now and the only guy you have is (Alfonso) Soriano in the lineup, the only righty. Hopefully he comes back healthy and helps us win some games."

Girardi said he had "talked" to Rodriguez after his final rehab game for Double-A Trenton, and that Rodriguez had "laughed" about his four walks in the game. It turned out, however, that the two had merely exchanged text messages, through which the manager said he was able to deduce that A-Rod was in "a good mood."

"I told him, 'Don't wear yourself out today and I'll see you [Monday],'" Girardi said.

Rodriguez conducted a private workout at Arm & Hammer Stadium in Trenton, N.J., for about 45 minutes late Sunday morning. He hit for about 20 minutes and then ran the bases. He left without speaking to reporters.

Reporters were not permitted in the stadium but confirmed that the embattled third baseman was working out by climbing the outfield fence and peeking over.

ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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