With A-Rod not ready, Yankees are looking to trade for a 3B

With Alex Rodriguez's status still uncertain, the Yankees are looking for a third baseman, according to people familiar with their thinking.

A-Rod is said to have told the Yankees within the last day or two, "I feel great, but I am a long way from playing games.''

That seems to be an about-face from the tweet declaring his readiness for game, that started the brouhaha in the Bronx, with general manager Brian Cashman reacting by saying A-Rod should "just shut the f--- up.''

Well, they all talked it out since, and Rodriguez has now conceded that since he isn't running the bases at full tilt or moving laterally on grounders, games can't yet be scheduled. That aligns with what Cashman has been saying all along.

The target for A-Rod to return to games for the Yankees is said to be sometime around late July. And when he comes back, it's uncertain how often he'll be able to play third base.

Which is why the Yankees are scanning the trade market for third basemen.

Aramis Ramirez is the top third baseman likely available in trade, but with $25 million to go through next season (including a $4 million buyout on 2015), the Yankees consider him too pricey. Jeff Keppinger, who they tried for this winter, is available, and Michael Young could be, as well, if the Phillies decide to sell at some point in the next few weeks. The Yankees have offered free agent Ian Stewart, who had his own twitter dustup with the Cubs, an opportunity to start at Triple-A Scranton.

Young has about $8 million left on his 2013 salary. He has a full-no-trade clause, which he received as a condition of him accepting the trade to Philly. The Phillies have a good third-base prospect at Triple-A Lehign Valley in Cody Asche, who has eight homers, 46 RBI and a .274 batting average.

In A-Rod's absence, the Yankees have been especially unproductive at third base, with a .620 OPS and .325 slugging percentage that rank 28th in baseball. They are looking for any sort of offense that could help them, but this is one of the more obvious places to look.

Yankees people now don't believe A-Rod personally executed the controversial tweet, which included a picture attached of his surgeon Bryan Kelly talking to him. The tweet suggested it was Kelly telling A-Rod he had the OK to play games, but it is becoming apparent that a-Rod, a neophyte in the twitter world, likely had one of his many PR people perform the tweet for him.

In his talk with the Yankees Rodriguez apologized for jumping the chain of command. He is said to have told the Yankees he intended no harm. He is said to have told his bosses something along the lines of, "You know me, I'm a great team player.''

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