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04/06/09 4:52 PM ET

A-Rod tells Girardi he's right on track

Slugger contacts skipper before Monday's opener

BALTIMORE -- Alex Rodriguez has swapped text messages with Yankees manager Joe Girardi and reports that his rehab is right on schedule.

Girardi said on Monday that he and Rodriguez exchanged messages within the past 24 hours. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player remains in Colorado, as he makes his way back from March 9 right hip surgery.

"He said he feels great," Girardi said. "He feels good, he wished us good luck and said, 'Keep it going, the stadium looked great.'"

Rodriguez is scheduled to change his training base to Tampa, Fla., on April 13, which would give Yankees brass a perfect opportunity to evaluate his progress. The Yankees will visit the Tampa Bay Rays for a three-game series beginning on the same day.

"He's in a good frame of mind, and his rehab is going well," Girardi said. "You hope that he doesn't have any setbacks."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has repeatedly said that his target date for Rodriguez to return to the big league lineup is May 15, which would be a full nine weeks from the date of the procedure.

Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed the surgery, said last month that Rodriguez's estimated timetable was six to nine weeks, so A-Rod could be back as soon as late April.

"I can't predict that," Girardi said. "I'm not sure when he's going to be back. In my mind, I was told May 15, so that's what I'm kind of sticking to."

In Rodriguez's absence, Cody Ransom was named the Yankees' Opening Day third baseman, batting .280 with two homers and nine RBIs in 28 spring games.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com.b This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.