- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Derek Jeter returned to the New York Yankees
lineup Tuesday night for the opening game of their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, but Alex Rodriguez did not play in the opener, probably will not play on Wednesday and may not play at all in the series because of a sore left thumb.
"I don't want to rule out this series," Rodriguez said before the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-2 when asked when he expected to play again. "But to be a little more realistic, probably Friday."
Earlier, manager Joe Girardi revealed that in addition to undergoing an MRI on his thumb in New York on Sunday, which revealed a Grade 1 sprain, the 36-year-old third baseman also received a cortisone shot, a pain-killing treatment that usually takes several days to take effect.
"I'm hopeful that we'll maybe get him (Wednesday) or even the next day," Girardi said. "But would I be surprised if he didn't play this series? No, I wouldn't be."
Rodriguez said the thumb was "a little sore" after the injection. "They told me to stay away from a bat for a day or two," he said.
A-Rod took grounders at third base before the game but no batting practice. He was also seen in the trainer's room before the game with a large ice pack on his left shoulder, which had troubled him back in June.
"It's getting better," he said of the shoulder injury, believed to be a strain.
Rodriguez's 18th major league season has been injury marred -- he also missed six weeks after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on July 11 -- resulting in the lowest offensive production of his career, a .289 batting average, 14 home runs and 54 RBIs. He has not failed to hit at least 30 home runs and knock in 100 runs since 1997.
"It's miserable," Rodriguez said. "It's painful to come here and you have just a perfect day to play baseball at Fenway Park. It's one of my favorite places to play. It always sucks to sit on the sidelines. This year's been the most frustrating of my career."
Jeter, who missed two games after suffering a bruised right kneecap when he fouled a pitch off his leg in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, found his name in the lineup when he arrived at the ballpark this afternoon. He went 0-for-5.
"I talked to him last night about it and said, 'Unless I hear from you I'm gonna put you in the lineup,'" Girardi said before the game. "And when he got here, I said, 'I didn't hear from you.' So he's playing."
Jeter had said he expected to play in the clubhouse after Monday night's 3-2 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. He went through his pregame routine without incident and played shortstop and hit second Tuesday.
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com