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Joe Girardi hoping that A-Rod can return from DL on Saturday

Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees

Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees takes early batting practice before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 16, 2016 in Phoenix. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Norm Hall

PHOENIX — Alex Rodriguez’s recovery has hit a snag, though the Yankees maintain it’s not a significant one.

Expectations this week were that the 40-year-old DH, out with a right hamstring strain, would return from the DL when his 15-day stint was up Thursday night in Oakland.

But after Tuesday night’s loss Joe Girardi said that wouldn’t happen and he said before Wednesday’s game his expectation now is a return Saturday.

“I would say that’s the best-case scenario,” Girardi said.

Rodriguez has run on the field the last couple of days, including the basepaths for the first time Wednesday, but has not pushed himself.

“We need him to pick up the speed a little bit,” Girardi said. “You have to be able to run. The fact he didn’t feel it today running was progress, it’s not full-speed though. He just doesn’t feel ready [to run full speed].”

Girardi joked that he understands A-Rod, who turns 41 July 27, isn’t the fleetest of foot.

“But he has to be able to run the bases,” Girardi said. “He has to be able to be able to go from second to home and those sort of things. If he hits a ground ball that’s [an easy] out, I don’t expect him to go full-out. But he has to be able to score.”

Pitchers can’t put ’em away

Yankee pitchers have consistently struggled to put teams away this season with two outs in an inning and individual hitters with two strikes. Michael Pineda on Tuesday was the most recent to fail in that regard, allowing a two-out, two-strike RBI single to Nick Ahmed in the second inning and an RBI single on a 1-and-2 pitch in a two-run third.

“Is it a mechanical thing? Is it a psychological thing that leads to a mechanical thing?” Girardi said. “If I was that smart I would change it.”

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