Near return, A-Rod plays eight rehab innings
Third baseman to join Yankees in Minnesota on Thursday
MOOSIC, Pa. -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez saw an uptick in action on Wednesday in his second rehab game with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, a 3-2 loss to Durham, playing eight innings and going 1-for-2 with an RBI single, two walks and a strikeout in front of 10,408 at PNC Field.
Rodriguez continues to feel more comfortable as he plays more games.
"I think there is a progression," Rodriguez said. "I think one of the things we talked about was playing a few games, taking a day off. I think that is going to be the exact schedule when I get up there."
Although there was speculation that Rodriguez could be in the Yankees' lineup on Thursday, that seems less likely at this point.
"Our plans right now are still to bring him to Minnesota [Thursday] if everything goes OK," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We may not activate him. We may just have him go through some things for a couple of days, then wait a couple of days to activate him."
"I'm not playing tomorrow," Rodriguez said. "I think that's pretty clear. Girardi already talked about that. I didn't see his press conference, but that's pretty much confirmed."
Rodriguez appeared close to being Major League-ready in his first at-bat of the night, during which he saw eight pitches against left-hander Matt Moore, ultimately drawing a walk after fouling off three pitches to stay alive.
"He threw the ball extremely well, so it was a great challenge," Rodriguez said of the Bulls' starting pitcher. "[It's challenging] any time you can face a lefty that can get it up in the mid-90s and has a good changeup and a good slider. I thought it was a good battle."
Rodriguez had some struggles defensively in the beginning of the game. With runners on first and third and one out in the first inning, Rodriguez let a grounder off the bat of Durham designated hitter Russ Canzler go through his legs, allowing Brandon Guyer to score from third.
Later in the first, Ray Olmedo grounded to Rodriguez, who stepped on third for the forceout to end the frame.
In the top of the second, Rodriguez made a nice play to get the speedy Tim Beckham -- the first overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft -- at first base.
In the fourth inning, Rodriguez drew his second walk of the game, overcoming an 0-2 hole he had dug after swinging through an offspeed pitch and fouling the second pitch of the at-bat straight back to the screen.
Rodriguez stayed alive in his second at-bat by fouling off a 97-mph fastball, then took the next two pitches to even the count, 2-2. He fouled off the sixth pitch, then took the next two balls, which missed inside. After walking, Rodriguez advanced to second base when Jesus Montero walked, but he advanced no further.
"I saw the ball very well the last two days," Rodriguez said. "That doesn't mean I'm locked in. I am seeing the ball well, my legs are under me and I have great balance."
Rodriguez got ahead early in his third at-bat, taking the first two pitches from reliever Joe Bateman, who battled back by throwing a 78-mph curveball that caught the inside corner. Rodriguez fouled off the next pitch before being rung up on a fastball on the outside corner. Rodriguez knew it caught the corner and walked back to the dugout without arguing the call.
Rodriguez made up for his strikeout by making a magnificent catch in the field during the top of the seventh inning. J.J. Furmaniak drilled a line drive and Rodriguez reacted swiftly, catching the ball on his glove side. He came through with another solid defensive play to get Matt Carson on a slow roller in the top of the eighth inning.
Rodriguez's best at-bat was also his final one of the night. He crushed an RBI single off Dane De La Rosa on a 1-2 count down the right-field line, scoring Jordan Parraz from third with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. The single cut Durham's lead to one run.
Rodriguez admits he has to work on certain parts of his game before he is ready to rejoin the Yankees.
"I would say a little bit of everything," Rodriguez said. "If I had to rank it, offensively, I think I am there. I think the next day or two is going to be the final stage."
Chris Dickerson came in to pinch-run for Rodriguez after the eighth-inning single.
"You play in a game like tonight and you have some tremendous talent out there," Rodriguez said. "You take Tim Beckham at shortstop, Matt Moore, our guy pitching tonight Manny, and Jesus, that's four of the best prospects in all of baseball. I got a great kick out of being around some of those guys and the great future of our game."
Josh Horton is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.