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Saturday, June 29, 2013
A-Rod: 'Can't wait to get back'

ESPN.com news services

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez says he feels great and his relationship with the New York Yankees is fine.

Rodriguez didn't indicate when he will start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment or rejoin the big league team, saying Saturday he "can't wait to get back."

"So far, no issues," Rodriguez said. "I'm just working really hard. I'm having fun. It's exciting to be back on the field."

Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez

Yankees president Randy Levine, for his part, is looking forward to Rodriguez's return to the lineup.

"We need Alex back," Levine told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor. "How effective he'll be when he comes back, how good he'll be, we don't know. But we are desperate for his right-handed power, and he's better than any third baseman on this team right now."

The All-Star third baseman is taking at-bats at the Yankees' minor league complex as he comes back from hip surgery in January. He also is fielding grounders, running the bases and doing sliding drills.

"I feel like my swing is definitely getting back to form," Rodriguez said. "(Defensively) moving better the last few days. Everything is coming along."

His rehabilitation became a point of contention in the past week.

Rodriguez posted Tuesday evening on Twitter that his hip surgeon had cleared him to play in rehab games, an announcement that angered general manager Brian Cashman because Rodriguez has not been given the go-ahead by team doctors.

When asked if everything is OK with the Yankees, Rodriguez said, "Absolutely."

"Ready to get back on the field," Rodriguez said. "All good."

Levine said Rodriguez will "help us."

"Obviously, it's no secret that we're struggling against left-handed pitching, that our whole offense is struggling, and that we've had very, very serious injuries," he said. "We need right-handed power. We don't have any right-handed power, none right now. Any semblance of A-Rod would help us. Even last year's A-Rod would be a big upgrade over what we have right now."

Yankees captain Derek Jeter took five simulated at-bats, which included a swinging strikeout and line drive single to right off 20-year-old Cuban left-hander Omar Luis.

The shortstop ran four times from first to third and four times from third to first on the grass just behind the infield dirt.

Eduardo Nunez, who strained a muscle on his left side while filling in for Jeter, is set to play in his third minor league game Sunday with Class A Tampa.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.