TORONTO - Alex Rodriguez didn't mince words.

"I felt like [expletive] today," he said. "I felt terrible."

Rodriguez went 0-for-3 with a walk in Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays and completed the six-game trip 2-for-22. His troubles started before that, however. Rodriguez, who turned 40 on July 27, entered Sunday with a .152/.278/.217 slash line in his previous 12 games.

"You have to grind through it," A-Rod said. "Everyone's going to go through times like this. It's just going to be good to have a change of scenery and get back home [Monday].''

Rodriguez said his slump is not attributable to fatigue.

"No, I actually feel fine," he said. "Sometimes you have to give those guys credit. They're throwing the ball very well and sometimes they make great pitches.

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"Five-hundred, 600 at-bats [during a season], you're going to go through ups and downs, like the stock market. Just play along. Be patient."

Ellsbury getting better

Jacoby Ellsbury has mostly struggled since returning from the disabled list on July 7, but he's been better of late. He went 2-for-4 with a homer Sunday and is 7-for-his-last-19.

"I think he feels better at the plate and he's swung the bat better," Joe Girardi said before the game. "We've said those two guys at the top [Ellsbury and Brett Gardner] are really, really important."

Ellsbury led off the first with a single but was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning. The centerfielder, who missed 43 games with a right knee sprain, last stole a base May 16.

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Pineda makes rehab start

Michael Pineda (flexor strain in right forearm) allowed two runs and four hits in three innings in a rehab start Sunday for Double-A Trenton. He threw 42 pitches, 30 for strikes.

Girardi didn't rule out the possibility that Pineda's next start will be for the Yankees, as long as there are no setbacks.

"It all depends on how he feels and based on our need," he said. "A lot of it, too, on how he feels tomorrow."

Nova ready to go

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Ivan Nova, who took a comebacker off his right ring finger in the third inning Friday and said afterward he thought he "broke" it, played catch before Sunday's game. He said his next scheduled start, Wednesday against the Twins, is not in peril. He could get pushed back, however, if Girardi chooses to insert a sixth starter.

"No way they're taking me out," Nova said with a smile.