New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez returning to the DH position...

New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez returning to the DH position after an injury, flies out in the second inning his game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (June 16, 2010) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

As of Tuesday afternoon Joe Girardi planned to start Alex Rodriguez at third the following night.

That idea lasted until he saw the third baseman take grounders. "I just didn't think that he had the lateral movement that we wanted to see by him," Girardi said before last night's game.

A-Rod started at designated hitter and Girardi said he doesn't have a date for when Rodriguez, who missed the weekend series against the Astros with tendinitis in his right hip flexor, would play in the field.

"You have to be cautious in these situations or you could be in big trouble," Girardi said. "You don't want to turn a five-, six- or seven-day thing into three weeks, four weeks."

Rodriguez went 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the ninth inning. He did not run full speed on the play but still made it into second. But that was not because his hip flexor was acting up.

"In a four-run game I didn't think there was a need of going all out and having a stand-up double was crucial," he said.

As for when he could get back on the field, "I don't want to anticipate," he said. "I'm going to keep communicating with the medical staff and Joe . . . hopefully soon."

Rodriguez took ground balls before the game.

No target number

Jorge Posada was back behind the plate and a big question as the season goes on will be how the catching duties will be split with Francisco Cervelli. Girardi was noncommittal.

"We have to be smart with Georgie," Girardi said. "My job is to keep Georgie healthy the whole year, not to run anyone into the ground. So we'll evaluate that on a daily basis, but [Cervelli's] going to play."

After the game Posada said he felt better than he did after Sunday, but was unlikely to catch Thursday.

"It gets tender, I can't lie to you guys," Posada said of his right foot. "It gets tender toward the end. I think it just gets tired so I'll keep my eye on it and keep treating it."

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