Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been medically cleared to begin playing in minor-league rehab games starting July 1, report Michael O'Keeffe and Teri Thompson of New York's Daily News. GM Brian Cashman acknowledged the rehab assignment would start in Tampa, Fla., with one of the team's low-level affiliates.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman told the Daily News Sunday that while he hasn't discussed an exact date for A-Rod's return to game action, “it sounds like it's on schedule. He's been running, throwing, fielding, and I know it's approaching. It's coming.”
Rodriguez would begin his minor league rehab assignment in Tampa, then would presumably move up the line, according to Cashman, to “[Double-A] Trenton, then [Triple-A] Scranton. Normally, position players need 50-75 at-bats, or 20 games.”
Rodriguez, 37, is currently rehabbing from left-hip surgery. He had the procedure in January to repair a torn labrum, a bone impingement and a cyst, which are expected to keep him out until after the All-Star break. By starting a 20-day rehab assignment on July 1, he'd be on schedule to return in the first series after the Midsummer Classic.
The Yankees have gotten just a .246/.302/.337 (75 OPS+) batting line out of their third basemen this year, and Kevin Youkilis will be out at least 10-12 weeks following back surgery. New York has used rookie David Adams (40 OPS+) at the hot corner for close to a month now.
A-Rod hit .272/.353/.430 (112 OPS+) with 18 home runs last season, and he carried a .276/.358/.449 batting line into late July before a pitch broke his left hand. Even a hobbled and declining Rodriguez would be a big upgrade over what the Yankees have gotten from their third basemen so far in 2013.
Cashman also confirmed the team is still waiting for MLB's investigation into A-Rod and his ties to the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. “We 110 percent support the commissioner's efforts," he said. "Their efforts are our efforts. Anyone guilty of cheating the game needs to go down, whether they're a Yankee or not a Yankee."
Rodriguez has been working out at the team's spring training complex in Tampa in recent weeks. He started facing live pitching a few days ago.