TAMPA, Fla. -- One day after struggling to make contact, Alex Rodriguez bounced back, getting his second hit of a six-game rehab assignment and first RBI.
"I was happy with all three at-bats, and I thought my work before the game and after the game was really good,'' said Rodriguez, who was the designated hitter for the Tampa Yankees Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to Dunedin at Steinbrenner Field. "In this process, there are going to be some good days and some bad days. Today was a good day.''
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Rodriguez will be back at third base Thursday, playing about five innings in the first game of a doubleheader, and he said he'll take Friday off.
Sources told Newsday on Tuesday that Rodriguez would meet with officials from Major League Baseball Friday to discuss their ongoing investigation into the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. He could be facing a 100-game suspension if the investigation finds he received performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic. On Tuesday, Rodriguez would not say if a meeting was scheduled.
Rodriguez struck out twice Tuesday and hit only one of six pitches he swung at. Wednesday, his timing was much improved, making contact on six of seven swings, including a liner to second and a grounder to shortstop.
He gave Tampa a 2-1 lead in the sixth with a single to left. He said the RBI had no significance for him. "It doesn't mean anything,'' said Rodriguez, still only 2-for-15 in his rehab stint. "Hitting two balls right on the nose felt pretty good. The biggest difference between today and yesterday was pitch selection.''
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked about Rodriguez's progress before last night's game with the Royals. "He's trying to get things going, wants to play, wants to come up here and help out, but he knows he has to go through the rehab," Girardi said.
Rodriguez said he expects to play this weekend for Tampa, which has home games Saturday and Sunday. He said he expects to complete his rehab up north (likely Trenton or Scranton-Wilkes-Barre) before making his season debut in the big leagues.
Girardi was asked about Derek Jeter pushing the organization publicly to activate him as soon as possible, whereas A-Rod hasn't. "I think Alex feels he's not to that level, that he's not ready to go," Girardi said. "What I've said in every rehab is when the player tells you he's ready, then you make an evaluation.''
Rodriguez said he wouldn't be surprised if his outings are extended to seven innings in the next few days, continuing a rotation with two games at third and one at DH before gradually extending his consecutive days in the field.
"Today I thought I was pretty explosive. I thought the ball came off the bat really nice,'' he said. "If I swing at strikes and be patient, make them pay when they come at my kill zone, that's my zone.''
Asked if he could foresee being a DH initially with the Yankees, A-Rod said, "I'm not the boss. Whatever [Girardi] wants me to do, I'm going to do. I'm just anxious to get up there and help the team win.''
With Erik Boland