A-Rod homers in rehab game
Third baseman's long ball comes off top Rays prospect Price
ST. PETERSBURG -- The news for the Yankees was good on Saturday morning, as Alex Rodriguez played in an extended spring game for the first time since straining his right quadriceps muscle on April 28.
The three-time American League Most Valuable Player logged five innings at third base, recording three putouts, and was 1-for-4 with a walk and a home run at the Raymond Naimoli Complex, the Tampa Bay Rays' Minor League facility.
"I think today the mission was accomplished," Rodriguez said. "I was able to catch a couple ground balls left and right, and went up, [was able to] swing the bat aggressively and just go out there and feel my way in."
The slugger noted that his quad "felt good" and he did not feel any discomfort, but did joke about the 10 a.m. ET game time, saying, "It's been a while since I've done that."
Rodriguez faced highly touted Rays pitching prospect David Price, who is rehabbing a muscle strain in his left elbow. The southpaw threw around 95-97 mph, and although he gave up a solo homer, Price did get Rodriguez to strike out twice.
"I wish he was on our team," Rodriguez said. "He has a very bright future. The Rays are doing a fantastic job of drafting these young guys."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was equally complimentary toward Price, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
"One thing you worry about in extended spring [games] is that you have to go up against some inexperienced guys, but Price is as experienced as you can be in a small professional career," Cashman said. "I'm sure that was a benefit to Alex, to be able to face some quality pitching."
Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list on April 30 and could have been activated on Thursday, but the Yankees wanted to be cautious after the third baseman aggravated the strain by returning after just three games last month.
For now, the plan is for Rodriguez to play in a simulated game on Sunday, followed by another extended spring game. Both of those will be played at the Yankees' Minor League facility in Tampa, Fla. Barring any setbacks, the Yankees hope to have Rodriguez back in New York on Tuesday against the Orioles.
As for the remainder of the weekend, Rodriguez said he will use his final stages of rehab to work on situational things, such as scoring on a double and testing his ability to dive for balls at the hot corner.
Following Saturday's performance, Rodriguez was all smiles in his first game scenario, and the slugger was confident in his performance and the club's "one-day-at-a-time" approach.
"Day 1 is out of the way, and it's all you hope for, which is a healthy performance and some reps at the plate as well as some chances in the field," Cashman said. "He'll get a good night's sleep and tee it up tomorrow."
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.