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Friday, September 2, 2011
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira out

By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez missed his sixth straight game Friday night due to a lingering left thumb injury.

Rodriguez said before the Yankees' 3-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays that he likely will have to play with pain in his thumb for the rest of the season.

"I think you're going to feel something for the rest of the year," said Rodriguez, who has missed eight of the Yankees' past 11 games with the injury. "You've got to pretty much concede to that. That's just not gonna go away but that's just going to have to be fine."

Rodriguez originally suffered the injury Aug. 21 while fielding a ground ball in Minnesota. Prior to that game, he had missed the previous 38 games following surgery to repair an MCL tear in his right knee.

The 36-year-old had hoped to return to the field Friday against Toronto. But after going through a pregame workout that included hitting on the field for the first time this week, the Yankees decided to hold him out. Rodriguez said it was a precautionary move, adding that he felt that he could play Friday if it was essential.

"(I) hit live for the first time and it felt pretty good and then met with the training staff and I think overall we're just going to take maybe at least one more day," said Rodriguez, who added the Yankees were taking the "most conservative" approach in treating the injury.

"I think we realize that the next two months are the most important ones. And once we, you know, see the green light we just don't want to come back and have any more setbacks," he said.

Rodriguez had a cortisone shot Monday after an MRI revealed a Grade 1 sprain. The cortisone shot has lessened the pain, according to Rodriguez, who will wear extra padding for his thumb in an attempt to ease the pain associated with swinging a bat. Rodriguez said he feels the most pain when making contact.

"It's not something you have to worry about reinjuring or making it worse," he said. "So it's just a matter of me having to play through the pain."

If Rodriguez isn't sore on Saturday morning, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he will insert him into the lineup.

Rodriguez is batting .289 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs -- the lowest production of his 18-year career. He has not failed to hit at least 30 home runs and knock in 100 runs since 1997.

On Tuesday in Boston, Rodriguez called this season the most frustrating in his career because of all of the injuries he's dealt with. He did note that the recent time off has given his surgically repaired knee time to heal.

"I think today was better than yesterday and hopefully tomorrow will be another good day," he said.

The Yankees also played Friday -- they beat Toronto 3-2 and moved back into first place in the AL East when Boston lost to Texas 10-0 -- without first baseman Mark Teixeira due to Teixeira's bruised right knee, and there is a chance he could sit the entire weekend series against Toronto.

Teixeira originally suffered the injury when he was hit by an 83 mph cutter thrown by Boston's Alfredo Aceves on Thursday.

Teixeira's status for Saturday's game against Toronto is unclear at this point. Girardi said it is "possible" that the first baseman could return to the lineup on Sunday.

Teixeira said after the game that his knee wasn't feeling much better after a day of treatment and didn't sound optimistic about playing Saturday.

"Anytime I try to flex my leg or walk, that hamstring is just real tight there behind the knee," Teixeira said.

Losing both Teixeira and Rodriguez for an extended period of time could be a significant blow to the Yankees. Teixeira's batting average isn't great (.248), but he is second on the team with 35 homers and 100 RBIs.

Ian Begley is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.