TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez feels fine after his first week of workouts, and will leave the decision of when he makes his spring training debut to New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
The Yankees begin exhibition play March 3 against Philadelphia at the Phillies’ camp. “I’ll talk to Joe first,” Rodriguez said Sunday. “If I’m in the lineup, I’ll play, yeah. So far, so good. No setbacks.”
Girardi said he’ll announce March 2 whether Rodriguez will be in the lineup for the spring opener. “Just making sure he’s physically ready to play,” Girardi said.
Suspended for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract, Rodriguez missed all of last season and is trying to return as his 40th birthday approaches in July.
Girardi and General Manager Brian Cashman say Chase Headley will be their starting third baseman and Rodriguez will compete for at-bats at Designated Hitter.
Rodriguez has been working out at third and first base, and could see limited time at both. He is using his infield glove at both positions while breaking in a new first baseman’s glove.
“I’m not worried about today,” Girardi said. “The real tests come in the games, and that’s what we’ve got to see.”
The three-time AL MVP has not played a full season since 2007 because the suspension, operations on both hips and other injuries.
Yankees Co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner shook hands and talked briefly on March 1 with Rodriguez, who was changing fields for defensive drills. Steinbrenner said last week that he’s looking ahead and not back with Rodriguez.
Girardi did announce that Adam Warren will start the March 3 game. Nathan Eovaldi will pitch in the March 4 exhibition home opener with the Phillies and Esmil Rogers will start March 5 against Pittsburgh.