SAN DIEGO - Until he's told differently, Joe Girardi plans on having Alex Rodriguez as his starting third baseman Monday night in Chicago.

"In my mind, I have him penciled in there tomorrow," Girardi said Sunday.

Major League Baseball, of course, will have the most to say about that. It is expected to hand down suspensions Monday afternoon, including a hefty one to A-Rod.

"I think all of us are curious as to what's going to happen and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow and what's going to happen to the other guys that are involved in this," Girardi said before Sunday's game.

Girardi said he exchanged text messages with Rodriguez Saturday after his four-walk game for Double-A Trenton.

"He laughed about not getting any pitches to hit," Girardi said. "But I know he's anxious to get here."

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Girardi added: "I told him, 'Don't wear yourself out [Sunday] and I'll see you [Monday].' ''

Regarding the toxic nature of the relationship between the front office and A-Rod, which has become public in recent weeks, Girardi said he and the clubhouse are separate from that. "There's different layers to a club," he said. "So my job is to manage the players that are in the clubhouse, so that's what I'll do."

Pressed about what might come Monday, Girardi he hasn't been following the unfolding story as much as one might think.

"I don't have a whole lot of input on the decision-making," Girardi said. "It's not like I can do anything about it. I'm aware of what's going on, but for me to read every newspaper article and listen to every talk show and look at every Internet . . . it's silly. I'm aware of what's going on with all the players, but I still have a team to manage."

As for any potential uneasiness of Rodriguez showing up in the clubhouse Monday, Girardi didn't see it.

"I don't suspect it will be awkward," he said. "Most of these guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and have been around Alex a lot, so I think it will be business as usual. I'm sure there will be more media there, but I think that's more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don't think it will be a big deal."