TAMPA, Fla. - After some prodding, Alex Rodriguez acknowledged that his fast start at the plate, 4-for-9 after going 2-for-3 Monday, looks better than 0-for-9.

And that was it.

"Nothing's really significant this time of year," he said.

But does 4-for-9 tell him anything?

"Nothing," said Rodriguez, who delivered two sharp singles, including one that drove in a run. "Zero. 0-for-9, 4-for-9, doesn't mean anything."

What is most significant to Rodriguez is how his body is responding, particularly Monday, which concluded his first back-to-back effort of the Grapefruit League season.

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"I feel pretty good today," he said. "Less sore than last week. So far, so good."

Joe Girardi said he intends to play Rodriguez in back-to-back home games Wednesday against Boston and Thursday night against Atlanta.

Sick leave

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Top pitching prospect Luis Severino showed up at the ballpark not feeling well. According to general manager Brian Cashman, he was sent to the hospital for tests and was diagnosed with strep throat. He will be out for at least a couple of days, Cashman said.

Wild card in pen

A dark horse to capture a bullpen spot is righthander Jared Burton, who has a career ERA of 3.44 in eight seasons with the Reds and Twins. He has impressed some in the organization with his stuff.

Signed to a minor-league deal just before camp, Burton threw a scoreless inning in his Grapefruit League debut Sunday. "I came here expecting to break camp with them," he said Monday. "I'm not over here to be an insurance policy and go to Triple-A, I can tell you that right now. I'm excited to get the chance to wear this uniform."

High praise

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Rodriguez said lefthanded-hitting infielder Greg Bird and righthanded-hitting outfielder Aaron Judge have caught his eye in camp. "You don't see those types of young hitters come around very often, and we're lucky to have two of them," he said. "I'm impressed."