ARLINGTON, Texas — Alex Rodriguez wasn’t in Monday night’s starting lineup, but all things considered, the left oblique injury he suffered on Sunday could have been far worse.
“I feel good,” A-Rod said shortly after arriving at Globe Life Park Monday afternoon. “I feel ready to go.”
Joe Girardi, however, didn’t take any chances with the 40-year-old, putting Carlos Beltran in his DH spot and starting utilityman Dustin Ackley in Beltran’s usual spot, rightfield.
Rodriguez left Sunday’s game against the Rays before his third at-bat in the sixth inning, having felt something while taking swings in the indoor cage.
“I was taking a few hacks in the cage,” said Rodriguez, who had hit an RBI double off the top of the leftfield wall in the fourth. “I felt something go down my lower back and then Joe thought it was best to pull me at that time . . . We just want to be extra-careful. Especially at my age, it’s probably a pretty smart thing to do.”
A-Rod had an MRI late Sunday that came back negative. “I think it was wise for me not to get that last at-bat and just to make sure we get an MRI and make sure that everything’s good,” he said. “The MRI matches the way I feel, and I feel pretty good.”
A-Rod, who turns 41 July 27, is off to a rough start, posting a .145/.242/.273 slash line in 15 games. He has two homers and six RBIs.
He called the timing of the injury “unfortunate” because he had been feeling better at the plate, even if the results hadn’t started reflecting that yet.
“I’ve had so many bad at-bats and I finally had a good at-bat [the fourth-inning double that nearly left the park] and then I get banged up a little bit,” he said. “But I should be ready to go. I feel like I’m getting closer. I think my body’s coming around and I feel like hopefully there’s really good things ahead.”
Rodriguez hopes that continues as soon as Tuesday night, though he wasn’t immediately ruled out from a pinch-hitting role in Monday night’s game.
As troublesome and slow-healing as oblique injuries can be, A-Rod was relieved.
“Any time you think about calves or obliques or anything like that, those things are scary,” he said. “I think it was wise to stop right when I did and I think because it was practice and not the game, I was able to avoid major damage.”
Girardi went into Monday night’s game essentially down two players as reserve outfielder Aaron Hicks, out with left shoulder bursitis, sat a third straight game. Hicks, who jammed the shoulder while diving for a ball during Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay, said he felt significantly better Monday and threw in the outfield before the game.
Girardi said he believes both Hicks and A-Rod will be able to avoid stints on the disabled list, though the next handful of games could be dicey with a two-man bench.
“It’s not ideal, but it’s not going to be for a long period of time. We’ll be fine,” Girardi said.
Addressing a similar question later, he smiled.
“You know that you can’t make as many moves,” Girardi said. “And you tell your guys not to get hurt.”