A-Rod in starting lineup one day after hurting hamstring

Alex Rodriguez


NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez was in the starting lineup for
the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, a day after straining his
left hamstring.

Rodriguez worked out on the field before batting practice to
test his leg. He did some running and took grounders, then told
manager Joe Torre he was healthy enough to play third base.

"He feels fine," Torre said, sounding a bit surprised. "I
really didn't expect to include him today. ... I certainly thought
it'd be a day or so."

A-Rod wasn't available for comment before the Yankees played
Minnesota, telling a team spokesman he wouldn't talk to reporters
until after the game.

Rodriguez batted in his customary cleanup spot. Torre said he
gave A-Rod the option of serving as the designated hitter, but the
slugger said he wanted to play third.

The two-time MVP was hurt Monday night when he tripped over
first baseman Justin Morneau's ankle while beating out a potential
double play. He remained in the game and advanced to second, then
came out.

Torre said A-Rod felt OK when he woke up Tuesday and didn't even
go for the MRI exam that had been expected.

Torre cautioned Rodriguez not to push himself unnecessarily.

"I told him, 'One game, two games aren't as important as
missing 30 games, if this thing led to something else,"' Torre
said. "We're certainly not looking to play him, [but] he says he
feels fine."

Torre then watched Rodriguez closely during batting practice and
checked on him one last time, receiving a satisfactory answer.

Rodriguez, who has played in every game this season, popped out
in his first at-bat.

Rodriguez hasn't been on the disabled list since July 2000 with
Seattle, when he had a right knee strain. The All-Star third
baseman and two-time MVP leads the major leagues with 28 homers and
80 RBIs to go along with a .322 batting average.