Alex Rodriguez hopes to play Sunday

Updated: August 20, 2011, 10:32 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- The long road back for Alex Rodriguez has at least one more day to go.

Rodriguez, recovering from surgery on his right knee, was not activated for Saturday's New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins game, and neither A-Rod nor manager Joe Girardi would say definitively that he will play on Sunday.

But both maintain the third baseman is getting very close to returning to action after yet another pregame workout Saturday afternoon.

"Today went well," Rodriguez said after completing his third day of workouts with the Yankees after having played four minor league rehab games, two as a DH for Class A Tampa and two at third base for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, earlier this week. "Another good day for us. Hopefully today is the last day of workouts and we'll be ready to strap it on."

Asked if that meant he would play in the series finale against the Twins on Sunday afternoon, A-Rod said, "I think so. I think we all feel that way. My mouth is getting watery here. I'm ready to play. I've watched enough baseball."

Girardi, who said on Friday he was leaning against activating Rodriguez for Saturday's game, stopped short of committing to him for Sunday.

"No, not yet," Girardi said before the Twins beat the Yankees 9-4. "We'll make an evaluation when he gets here (Sunday) morning and we'll see what happens."

Pressed for a more definitive answer, Girardi said, "The only way that I wouldn't is if maybe he came in tomorrow and said, 'You know, I don't feel good today.' Then we'll wait. But it's very possible he'll be a player for us."

It has been a strange, reverse rehab for Rodriguez, who played in minor league games before doing conditioning drills, a process that is normally done the other way around.

"The work I've been able to do here you'd never be able to do in Tampa or Scranton," A-Rod said, by way of explanation. "We've done everything defensively except dive for a ball. The one thing we did here was we were able to go first to third full-speed, simulate a situation with (third-base coach) Rob Thomson actually sending me around third, and the last three days I've progressively gotten better. So I think we've covered it. We've checked every box, pretty much."

Rodriguez had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on July 11, an injury he has said limited his ability to move in the field and to drive the ball with his usual authority for several weeks before the surgery. He is hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs.

Although Girardi would not declare A-Rod a definite "go" for Sunday, he pooh-poohed the suggestion that the Yankees wait until they return home on Tuesday to re-activate the player they have gone 25-12 without since he last played on July 7.

"You want to play him when he's ready," Girardi said. "And if you wait until Tuesday, it'll be five days since his last at-bat. Not play him because we've got an off-day (on Monday)? Well, he's had bunch of off-days."

And Saturday he'll have at least one more.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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