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A-Rod set to return, hopes to be back in form by October

The Sports Xchange

Alex Rodriguez is expected to return to the Yankees' lineup Friday night in Toronto, as he hopes to sharpen his game over the final two weeks as New York heads for another postseason.

"There's no question that we're in a franchise that, the most important month is October," Rodriguez said. "Obviously with a good performance and the team attaining its goal, I think everyone would agree that everything would be forgotten."

Rodriguez hasn't played since last Friday, missing five games because a sprained left thumb. He has done conditioning work and taken ground balls, but has not picked up a bat in order to let his thumb heal.

In nine games after sustained the injury, Rodriguez hit .226 with two home runs and four RBI, though he had only three extra-base hits during that stretch.

"I think I was to the point that I had to stop because I wasn't able to do my job," Rodriguez said. "There's no question, to say it's going to feel 100 percent, it's not going to do that until next spring, but that's fine."

Manager Joe Girardi is hoping that Rodriguez can find his timing and re-establish himself as a potent bat in the middle of the lineup, though he understands that he may have to manage the injury to keep Rodriguez fresh and healthy.

"You have to get him to where he can play three or four days in a row," Girardi said. "I think that's important, but I think your only concern is that he doesn't have another setback.

"That's your concern. If he plays Friday, will I play him the day game after the night game? I don't know."

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