Alex Rodriguez will take a significant step toward returning to the Yankees' lineup Friday night when he serves as the DH in a minor-league rehab game with the Class A Tampa Yankees in Dunedin, Fla. It will be the first game he has played since undergoing surgery July 11 to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. If everything goes as planned, he will play third for the minor-league team Saturday and rejoin the Yankees next week.

A-Rod is hitting .295 with 13 homers and 52 RBIs in 80 games. Said Joe Girardi, "It just gives us more options and makes our lineup deeper. It will be great." Still not a home run hitter

Curtis Granderson's sixth-inning homer was his fourth in the last three games and his career-high 32nd. Still, he insists he doesn't consider himself a home run hitter and didn't think it was gone when he hit it. "I thought it was an out right away," he said. "But then looking at the flags through the course of the game, the wind was really blowing."

Granderson, who leads the majors in runs (105) and RBIs (93), started 2011 batting eighth, was moved into the No. 2 hole and recently has been hitting third. "I hadn't been in the bottom of the lineup much in my career, but at the same time, you have to look at the guys batting ahead of you," he said when asked if he is happier batting in the middle of the lineup.

Gardner nabbed

When Brett Gardner was caught stealing second to end the eighth, it ended a streak of 22 successful steal attempts for him. Gardner, who was last caught stealing June 18 and now is 36-for-47, said the streak was not something he thought about. "If I worried about that,'' he said, "I wouldn't be going for it."

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