Yankees: It will be odd not having Alex Rodriguez in camp

Alex Rodriguez reacts as he walks back to

Alex Rodriguez reacts as he walks back to the dugout after flying out in a pinch-hit opportunity in the top of the sixth inning of Game 4 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. (Oct. 18, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Report day for position players came and went Sunday with no Alex Rodriguez, which was expected.

When pitchers and catchers reported last week, Joe Girardi said Rodriguez wasn't scheduled to show up at camp anytime soon, and might not be scheduled at all.

A-Rod has been rehabbing, splitting time between his Miami home and New York, after offseason hip surgery.

The word of the day to describe his absence from camp was "odd," though it's no secret that as an organization, the Yankees are more than pleased not to have to deal with the distraction of an appearance by Rodriguez, whose name again has been tied to performance-enhancing drugs.

"It's going to be weird not having him here," Derek Jeter said. "He's been a part of this team since 2004, so it's going to be awkward."

Said Joe Girardi: "It's odd when you don't have players you expect to have in camp. But he's going through an injury. Have to play that one by ear."

Girardi said he's talked to Rodriguez fairly consistently this offseason, even after the bombshell allegations three weeks ago that A-Rod purchased PEDs from a Miami anti-aging clinic from 2009 through last season.

"I keep in touch with him, see how he's doing, make sure he's rehabbing," Girardi said. "Everything's going good."

Mark Teixeira, who said he texts with A-Rod "about once a week," said report day wasn't the time to evaluate the strangeness of not seeing the third baseman. Not with so many players in camp.

"There's 90 guys in there right now," Teixeira said, exaggerating only slightly (the Yankees have 83 players in camp). "Even if he was here, I'm not sure if I'd see him. It's busy in there right now, but once the season starts, it will be weird to not have him around."

The Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis to play third this season, their assumption being that A-Rod's return in 2013, which could take place by midseason, is far from guaranteed.

"I played with Kevin in the WBC a few years back, so I've gotten a chance to get to know him a little bit," Jeter said. "I've always respected the way that he played. He plays hard, he plays to win, he's got a lot of intensity and he's always done well against us. I don't think he has to come in here trying to replace anyone. Just comes in here and tries to do the things that made him successful in the past. I think Yankee fans really will have an appreciation of how he goes about his business day in and day out."

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