Monday, March 23, 2009 Updated: March 24, 7:57 PM ET
Girardi: A-Rod's return not imminent
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is making progress in his rehab program after right hip surgery, but is unlikely to rejoin the team before New York breaks spring training camp on April 1.
"I'm not anticipating it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday. "It's only 10 days. His rehab is going well."
Rodriguez had surgery on March 9. He is rehabbing in Vail, Colo., and is expected to be out until May. He has been riding a stationary bike, working out in a pool and doing range of motion drills.
In other news, Girardi said if the regular season were under way that Xavier Nady would be the starting right fielder over Nick Swisher.
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"Nady did a lot of good things last year, so obviously he had somewhat of the upper hand coming in," Girardi said. "Swish gives us a lot of flexibility."
Nady was acquired from Pittsburgh last July 26. He hit .268 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 59 games with the Yankees. Swisher, who plays first and all three outfield positions, was obtained in a November trade with the Chicago White Sox.
"I know Swisher is obviously going to be a big part of this team," Nady said. "We both plan on playing a lot."
Girardi also confirmed that Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to start the first exhibition game at the new Yankee Stadium on April 3 against the Chicago Cubs. A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte will both pitch in a second exhibition game against the Cubs one day later.
CC Sabathia is expected to start the regular-season opener.
"I do feel good about this team," Girardi said. "I like the depth of our rotation. I like the fact that we have kids pitching at Triple-A that have big-league experience. I like the fact that you send a kid like Phil Hughes down who has a very good spring training and competed at a high level. I feel like we have a lot more depth in that area. That's an area we didn't have depth in last year."
Shortstop Derek Jeter is rejoining the Yankees from the World Baseball Classic and told Girardi that he wants to play in Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees captain went 1-for-5 in the United States' 9-4 loss to Japan in the WBC semifinals on Monday night.
"Are we surprised? No," Girardi said. "I'm going to put him in the lineup."
The Yankees also reassigned Kei Igawa to their minor league camp on Monday. The left-hander, who allowed one run over 15 1/3 innings, was in the mix for the long relief role.
Igawa will be a starter at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
"Right now that's what we envision him doing," Girardi said. "We told him, just continue to attack the zone. I think he did a really good job most of spring training. I thought this was probably his best spring training."