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Alex Rodriguez close to return to Yankees’ lineup

Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees

Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees strikes out in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, April 23, 2016 in the Bronx Borough of New York City. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

ARLINGTON, Texas — Alex Rodriguez is closing in on a return to the Yankees’ lineup. The DH, out with a sore left oblique, took 25 swings off a tee before Monday’s game and went through similar pregame work Tuesday.

Rodriguez, 40, left Sunday’s game before his third at-bat with the oblique problem. Joe Girardi kept him out of Tuesday night’s game but believes A-Rod could be ready for Wednesday night’s game against lefthander Martin Perez.

“That would be my hope, yes,” Girardi said.

Speaking in the clubhouse shortly after arriving at the ballpark, A-Rod said he’s noticed improvement each day. “I’m hopeful,” said Rodriguez, who has a .145/.242/.273 slash line in 15 games. “It feels pretty good. Better than yesterday.”

Shifting with wind

Although the Yankees shift as much as any team in baseball, that doesn’t mean Girardi is a fan of it. Asked before Tuesday’s game what he would do with shifts if he were commissioner, Girardi said he would make them “illegal.”

“I just think the field was built this way for a reason,” Girardi said with a smile. “It’s two [fielders] on one side and two on the other.”

Girardi, of course, knows his team has benefited from the strategy that has become commonplace with every major- league team. “As long as it’s legal,’’ he said, “I’m going to play it.”

Chapman update

Suspended closer Aroldis Chapman made his fifth appearance in a camp game Monday at the club’s minor-league complex in Tampa, allowing a homer and a walk before being removed with two outs because of a high pitch count. Chapman, eligible to return May 9, had four dominant one-inning outings before then, allowing one hit and striking out nine.

His fastball has sat mostly in the 98-99 mph range.

“Everything seems pretty good,” Girardi said. “Can’t be a lot of fun for the kids that are facing him.”

New York Sports