A-Rod might return Friday

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez, recovering quickly from hip surgery, could return to the Yankee lineup as early as Friday in Baltimore. Yankee manager Joe Girardi said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

“If he bounces back Wednesday [after playing in an extended spring training game Tuesday], it’s up to him,” said Girardi. “It’s a possibility. I haven’t talked to him after today’s game. Is Friday the day? I can’t tell you.”

Rodriguez said last week in Tampa that the last thing he wants to do before leaving his rehab assignment is to slide in a game. Today, he went 1 for 6 with a home run and walk in seven innings. He played third base and ran the bases, but did not slide.

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“I don’t know that we necessarily need to see him slide on dirt. You’d like to see it, but I’m not going to force it,” said Girardi, who said A-Rod has been sliding on a mat.

Girardi also said he doesn’t need Rodriguez to play more than seven innings while on rehab. Girardi reasoned that in spring training he never asks players to play a full game and feels that this is Rodriguez’s spring training.

“If he plays seven and doesn’t have a problem, he’s well on his way,” Girardi says.

In other Yankee news:

  • The team recalled righthander Alfredo Aceves from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned righthander Anthony Claggett back to Scranton. Girardi said the move was made because he needed a potential long man in case a rain delay played havoc with Philip Hughes’s start.
  • Reliever Damaso Marte, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list, had inflammation in his left shoulder confirmed by doctors.
  • Mark Teixeira enters tonight’s game 1 for his last 20. Girardi said he’s not worried because “he’s getting on base.”
  • Girardi, who was critical of the new book by Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated, titled “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez,” was asked whether he would read the book. He said, “I was in line at the bookstore today and I got a call from Brian Cashman saying I had to get back to the ballpark.” A joke, of course.
  • Tonight was expected to be a big test for Hughes, who shut out the Tigers over six innings (two hits, six Ks) April 28. Girardi indicated that Detroit has a very good lineup as does Boston, but “this is a different setting.”
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