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Alex Rodriguez continues to progress

Yankees' Alex Rodriguez takes batting practice during a

Yankees' Alex Rodriguez takes batting practice during a workout at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla. (June 5, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

Alex Rodriguez's rehab continues to inch along, with the third baseman making no huge leaps forward but suffering no setbacks, which is more significant.

On Friday, A-Rod took simulated at-bats -- which involves seeing live pitching when the batter doesn't know what's coming -- in Tampa, along with the arc-running, agility drills and regular BP he'd been doing.

Rodriguez was back on the field again Saturday morning, getting five more simulated plate appearances, this time against a lefthanded pitcher. He hit three grounders to short, lined a single to center and walked.

There is speculation that Rodriguez could be ready for Gulf Coast League games by early to mid-July, though several hurdles need to be cleared before that, most notably appearing in a simulated game.

"He has to be able to run the bases a little bit more,'' Joe Girardi said of when A-Rod might be ready for simulated games. "I'm not sure when he's scheduled to do that, but obviously, if he's taking simulated at-bats, he's got to be fairly close.''

Day by dayIvan Nova, 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts since being demoted to Triple-A Scranton May 31, will start for the Yankees Sunday, but Girardi wouldn't say anything about the club's plan for the inconsistent righthander beyond that.

"We don't really have one,'' Girardi said. "We'll see what happens [Sunday].''

Nova was 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA in six appearances (four starts) when he was demoted. Outfielder Thomas Neal is likely to be sent down when Nova is brought up.

Extra basesFrancisco Cervelli (broken right hand) is "taking some light swings,'' according to Girardi, and could progress to tee-and-toss "shortly.'' The Yankees have targeted the week before the All-Star break as a best-case scenario for the catcher's return . . . The Yankees improved to 24-0 when scoring at least five runs, the only MLB club yet to lose this season when it reaches that figure . . . Michael Pineda (shoulder) is expected to make his next rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Trenton . . . Second baseman Gosuke Katoh, the Yankees' second-round pick, homered for the GCL Yankees, giving him two homers in his first two games as a professional.

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