Alex Rodriguez sued the Major League Baseball Players Association in 2013 as part of a desperate bid to overturn his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, but the players' union apparently is willing to let bygones be bygones. Rodriguez on Thursday was announced by the MLBPA as one of three finalists for the Players Choice comeback player of the year award.

Fellow finalists Prince Fielder of the Rangers and Kendrys Morales of the Royals rebounded from poor seasons. Rodriguez had to sit out last season for self-inflicted reasons, but there's no denying his production at the age of 40 of 33 home runs and 86 RBIs as a designated hitter after Thursday night's game against Boston.

"I think it's good people have recognized what he's done on the field and not let what's happened in the past cloud their judgment," manager Joe Girardi said. "For whatever reason that you don't have good years or you don't play, it comes up for a lot of different reasons. But he has been extremely important to our club, extremely important to our clubhouse and has had a really good year."

Rodriguez declined pregame requests for an interview.

Back issues

Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley were held out of the starting lineup because of back issues. Ellsbury was sore after running into the wall and Headley's back stiffened after Wednesday night's loss.

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Asked if he's concerned about his team's health heading to a possible wild-card playoff game, Girardi said, "You hope a day off helps them. That's the thought process. The thing about the playoffs is you don't play 17 days in a row. You only play two or three, that sort of thing. From a physical standpoint, it's a lot easier on the players."

Tanaka feels fine

Masahiro Tanaka, who came off a hamstring injury to start Wednesday night's game, told Girardi Thursday that he felt fine and will throw his normal bullpen session before a possible wild-card playoff start on Tuesday night.

Girardi said the Yankees will continue to push for home-field advantage in the wild-card game once they clinch the berth . . . Girardi said Nathan Eovaldi, who is suffering from elbow inflammation, continues to play catch with no problems.