Alex Rodriguez exits, out for M's series

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez made it through batting practice Friday afternoon without aggravating his left calf injury. He was then put in the cleanup spot in the Yankees' lineup for Friday night's game against the Seattle Mariners.

He made it through only one at-bat.

Rodriguez, who served as the Bombers' designated hitter, reinjured his calf while swinging at the first pitch he saw from Felix Hernandez, in the second inning of the Yankees' 6-0 loss to Seattle. He jogged gingerly to first base after hitting a soft ground ball to third.

"I just felt something on my swing. Probably my first step out of the [batter's box]," Rodriguez said after the game. "I just felt the same stiffness I felt a few days ago."

Austin Kearns batted for Rodriguez with two out in the fourth. Rodriguez had missed the previous three games with the injury. Joe Girardi said Rodriguez will miss "a few more games" as the Yankees continue to monitor the ailment.

The Yankees third baseman did not believe the injury was any more severe than it had been in the past three days. Rodriguez first injured his calf Monday night while running out a fly ball to right field in the fourth inning of the Yankees' game against Detroit. An MRI taken Tuesday night at New York Presbyterian Hospital revealed a strain in his left calf.

"I wouldn't say it's any worse," he said.

Rodriguez and Girardi both said that -- at this point -- there would be no need for further tests on the injured calf. Girardi said it was unlikely Rodriguez would land on the disabled list.

Before Friday's game, Rodriguez said he would be cautious on the basepaths.

"You've got to be careful not to try go first to third or even stretch a single into a double," Rodriguez said. "You have to know you're probably going to be base to base for a couple days. I think when [you strain your calf], you're going to feel that for a minute."

Rodriguez ran a lap around the bases after his first round of batting practice before Friday's game. He also took ground balls at third base. Girardi said he would take Rodriguez out of the lineup if he aggravated the injury during batting practice. But Rodriguez said he was ready to go before the game, although he added that he wasn't well enough to play third base.

"I totally convinced and conveyed to the training staff and to my manager that I was ready to go," Rodriguez said. "I thought I was ready. And just on that swing I felt a little something."

Ramiro Pena started at third and hit ninth in the series opener against Seattle.

Rodriguez admitted afterward that he was frustrated by the setback.

"Definitely I want to be out there," he said. "I thought I was beginning to get in a groove and help this team and get us to the next level. It's obviously very frustrating."

The three-time MVP is hitting .265 with 21 homers and 97 RBIs this season. He was sidelined with a lower left leg contusion Aug. 8 against the Red Sox when Lance Berkman lined a ball off his left shin in batting practice. He also sat out June 11-16 with hip flexor tendinitis.

Robinson Cano hit in the cleanup hole during Rodriguez's absence this week. Cano went 5-for-12 with three home runs and five RBIs in three games hitting in the No. 4 spot in the lineup.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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