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Alex Rodriguez playing first is discussed by Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman

Alex Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list

Alex Rodriguez, who is on the disabled list after hip surgery, sits in the dugout during a game at Yankee Stadium. (April 13, 2013) Credit: AP

BALTIMORE - And at first base, Alex Rodriguez?

During a conference call Friday afternoon discussing his new three-year contract and the dismissal of coaches Kevin Long and Mick Kelleher, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman casually dropped in a piece of news regarding A-Rod.

"Joe Girardi conveyed to me he talked to him, briefly, about him getting some work at first base," Cashman said. "Joe had a conversation recently about that. How extensive that conversation was, I don't know, but he conveyed it to me."

Giving Rodriguez, who will come off the suspended list at the end of the World Series, some work at first base makes sense. He is a 39-year-old with a body that, before the suspension, was showing indications of being in breaking-down mode. From 2008-13, Rodriguez had at least one stint on the disabled list each year and played in a total of only 664 games.

While Rodriguez no doubt envisions himself as the everyday third baseman in 2015, Cashman believes he can't count on it.

"I don't know what to expect because he missed a full year,'' Cashman said. "I know I expect hard work and dedication because that's something he does bring. He's going to work his tail off and he's going to compete, that I can count on.

"Can I count on the results that come with the position? That I don't think, in my chair or Joe Girardi's chair, is the safe route to take. Any alternatives that we can line up for contingency purposes will be the safer play.''

Cashman later said, "I expect if you talk to Alex, he's going to push hard and compete hard and focus hard and expect to be the everyday guy at third. I just need to make sure I have the protections in place to provide alternatives.''

One alternative could be one of the club's own free agents, Chase Headley, who was acquired in-season from the Padres. The Yankees would like to retain him because of the depth he provides not only at third base but at first, given that Mark Teixeira's surgically repaired right wrist is always going to be a question mark. But Headley could decide to sign with a team who has a more defined everyday role for him.

As for A-Rod, Cashman said the club's strength coach, Matt Krause, recently spent time in Miami working him out.

"Matt's given a thumbs up,'' Cashman said. "This is obviously a dedicated and hard-working athlete who is very determined and motivated to come back and be successful.''

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