Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Updated: August 18, 11:43 AM ET
Alex Rodriguez plays last rehab game
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
MOOSIC, Pa. -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez gave the fans at PNC Field plenty of "entertainment value" during his two-game rehab stint at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Rodriguez, who was viciously booed by the fans on Tuesday night for failing to catch a pair of foul popups, drew their wrath again on Wednesday night when he let a potential inning-ending double-play grounder roll under his legs in the first inning of what proved to be a busy evening for the 36-year-old at the hot corner.
At the plate, however, Rodriguez received a different reaction from the crowd.
He went 1-for-2 with two walks and an eighth-inning RBI single against Triple-A Durham on Wednesday night in his final minor league rehab appearance before he rejoins the Yankees on Thursday night in Minnesota. He left to a standing ovation after being lifted for a pinch runner in the eighth.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday afternoon, however, that Rodriguez may not be activated immediately.
"He said he felt good, but he's not running all out," Girardi said before the Yankees took on the Royals in Kansas City. "Our plans right now are to still bring him to Minnesota (on Thursday) if everything goes OK. We may not activate him. We may have him do some things for a couple of days and wait a couple of days to activate him but our plans are still for him to come tomorrow."
Girardi said Rodriguez would be examined by team trainer Gene Monahan upon arrival, after which a determination would be made on whether to add him to the roster in time for Thursday night's game.
For his part, Rodriguez said he wasn't playing Thursday.
"I'm not playing tomorrow," he said after his final rehab game. "I think that's pretty clear. That's pretty much confirmed."
Rodriguez wouldn't to commit to playing Friday, either.
"I don't want to speculate, but in a day or two, I'll meet with the medical staff, (general manager Brian) Cashman and Girardi, we'll all get together and make a wise decision, but anything's possible," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez did say he hopes to "tee it up" at some point over the weekend.
Rodriguez, who is hitting .295 with 13 home runs, 19 doubles and 52 RBIs in 80 games for the Yankees this season, has been out since July 8 with a torn meniscus in his right knee. He underwent surgery to repair the tear on July 11, and has missed the Yankees' past 34 games.
Rodriguez played eight innings at third on Wednesday. And for the second straight night, it was an adventure.
After making the first-inning error, Rodriguez cleanly handled his next two chances in the field. But he allowed a ground ball to scoot under his glove on the backhand side in the second.
Rodriguez did, however, handle a popup in the fifth, which drew mock cheers from the crowd. He snagged a hard liner in the seventh and cleanly fielded a bouncer in the eighth.
Out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup, Rodriguez, who was facing highly touted Durham left-hander Matt Moore, drew an eight-pitch walk in the first and came back from an 0-2 hole to work the count full and coax a walk in the fourth. He took a called strike three from sidearming right-hander Joe Bateman in the sixth. In his fourth and final plate appearance in the eighth, Rodriguez singled into right field to drive in a run against flamethrowing right-hander Dane De La Rosa before being lifted for a pinch runner.
"It was a great challenge facing Matt Moore," Rodriguez said. "It was a good battle. ... I felt my legs were under me pretty good."
Rodriguez didn't get much of a chance to test his knee on the base paths, but said he ran "confidently" while going from first to third on first baseman Jorge Vazquez's flyout, which ended the first inning.
Rodriguez said he's looking forward to working with Yankees first-base coach Mick Kelleher on his fielding. He wants to take more ground balls to his left and his right. Rodriguez is looking forward to fine-tuning his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long as well.
Rodriguez singled in three at-bats for Triple-A Scranton on Tuesday night. He also played six innings at third base, fielding a ground ball and failing to catch a pair of foul popups -- one which he missed and one which he overran.
"It's always good to give the fans a little entertainment value," Rodriguez said of his two fielding gaffes Tuesday night.
Previously, Rodriguez had gone 2-for-6 at the plate with a home run and a double in a pair of rehab games for Class A Tampa over the weekend. He also had four hits in 13 simulated at-bats in Florida on Sunday.
Rodriguez arrived on the field at 4:03 p.m. He absolutely demolished the ball during batting practice, drilling several home runs, including one that caromed off the scoreboard in left.
Rodriguez said Tuesday that he wanted to get rid of some of the hesitancy and tentativeness he had running the bases on Wednesday. He said it's going to be about a 10-day process.
Triple-A Scranton drew its largest crowd of the season -- 10,408 -- on Wednesday night. Scranton normally draws around 3,000 fans per game.
Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPN NewYork.com's Wallace Matthews was used in this report.