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Saturday, May 17, 2008
A-Rod homers against Rays' top pick in extended spring training game

Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a solo homer in his first extended spring training game on Saturday.

Rodriguez
Rodriguez

It was his first game since April 28, when he was initially sidelined by a strained right quadriceps. A-Rod batted five times against David Price, taken first overall in last year's amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Rodriguez hit a long opposite-field homer to right on a 95-mph fastball, walked once, flew out and struck out twice.

"It felt good," said Rodriguez, who played four innings at third. "Just wanted to get back into the box. Today, mission was accomplished."

Rodriguez is scheduled to take part in a simulated game Sunday and play in another extended spring game Monday. Baring any setbacks, he will rejoin the Yankees Tuesday.

Price, coming back from a strained left elbow, is expected to make his pro debut Thursday for Class-A Vero Beach. He struck out 10, and gave up one walk and four hits in five innings.

"I wish he was on our team," Rodriguez said. "He has a very bright future."

With a less formal setting in extended spring games, Rodriguez was able to bat in each of the first five innings. After striking out on a slider in the first, he homered on the first pitch he saw in the second, which prompted a big smile as he headed toward the dugout after circling the bases.

"It's been a while," Rodriguez said.

Price said the homer taught him the need to keep the ball down.

"I threw a fastball up and in, and he hit it out to right center," Price said. "That's just something you've got to put in your back pocket, make a mental note of it."

Rodriguez handled several chances at third, including one play when he went to his left, reached out with his glove to knock the ball down, picked it up and threw out the batter at first.

"I was able to catch some ground balls, left and right," Rodriguez said.