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A-Rod: A third of the season is gone, and still healthy

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

WASHINGTON -- The contract from this point on still looks ridiculous.

The slugging percentage at this point in the season still looks sluggish.

There are reasons for the Yankees to wonder about Alex Rodriguez. But a third of the way through this season, his health hasn't been one of them.

That's newsworthy, because for the three seasons before this, Rodriguez's health seemed to be almost a constant issue. Even when he was playing, something always seemed to be hurt.

Hip, thumb, knee, shoulder, calf -- he's gone through most of the body. At his age (37 next month), when the body starts breaking down, it doesn't usually stop.

But when A-Rod was out of the Yankee lineup Saturday, it was for a scheduled day off. He's been in the lineup for 61 of their 64 games this season, and the other three have all been scheduled days off.

"The way I feel, I'm fine playing 20 days in a row if I need to," said Rodriguez, who grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning. "My body feels great. I'm giddy when I get up in the morning."

The Yankees have had injury concerns this year, as most teams have. David Robertson missed time, Brett Gardner is still out, and of course Mariano Rivera is done for the year. But on a team where age is always a concern, the older everyday players have been able so far to play basically every day.

Scouts watching the Yankees talk about how solid their defense has been, and in particular how good A-Rod and soon-to-be-38-year-old Derek Jeter have looked on the left side of the infield. And Rodriguez pointed out Saturday how well he's been able to go first to third on the bases.

What he hasn't been able to do is hit for power at the rate he usually does. Rodriguez's .431 slugging percentage would be his worst for any season since he was in his teens. His home run percentage is the same as it was last season, the lowest it has been since he was 21.

It may never return to where it was. And maybe the run of good health is just an early-season anomaly.

He's almost 37, after all. And his contract doesn't run out for another five years.

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