LAKELAND, Fla. - The minor-league rehab of Alex Rodriguez was designed with hopes of avoiding the heavy rain that had limited his recent workouts in Tampa, but Friday's doubleheader with the Tampa Yankees was postponed. He plans on playing on Florida's east coast Saturday afternoon.
"We're playing in Brevard . . . that's all we know," Rodriguez said after working out in the batting cages at Joker Marchant Stadium, spring training home of the Detroit Tigers. "We've got to get on the horn up north, see what they're thinking."
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Rodriguez went 0-for-4 in two rehab appearances with the Class A Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League, and Friday was to be his first game in the Florida State League. Rodriguez, wearing a No. 39 jersey, was to play in a 4 p.m. continuation of a game postponed by rain Thursday night, but the field was deemed too wet to play on and the game was called with only cloudy skies.
Rodriguez said the setback doesn't alter his timetable or his optimism about his progress.
"Nothing changes. For us, it's business as usual," said Rodriguez, who will play against the Brevard County Manatees, a Brewers affiliate, on Saturday. "We all have a schedule, we all want to rush to get back as soon as we can, but we have to be smart."
Rodriguez, recovering from offseason hip surgery and in the first week of a 20-day rehab assignment, hopes to return to the major leagues later this month. He said his time in Charleston was most encouraging from the standpoint of getting acclimated to live baseball after nine months off.
"For me, it was great to be back under the lights again, playing baseball," he said. "It's been nine months for me. It's been a long time. Great town of South Carolina, just felt good. Great energy, great fans. Pretty exciting to be out playing baseball. It's what I love to do."
Rodriguez said it will take 25 at-bats before he's ready to evaluate his timing at the plate or get a real feel for how his body is recovering and how ready he is to play in the majors.
"No matter what kind of shape you're in, baseball shape is completely different," he said. "I don't care how hard you work in the offseason, when you get out in cleats in spring training, you have soreness you've never felt before. It's a different type of conditioning. Baseball's an endurance game, an everyday game, so you've got to get your legs under you and make sure you're ready for the long haul."