A-Rod runs through on-field drills
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez resumed drills on the baseball field Monday five weeks after hip surgery and hopes to return as "good as new."
The New York Yankees third baseman hit 36 balls off a tee and took 42 swings during a soft-toss hitting session. He also fielded 40 grounders and did light running at the team's minor league complex.
"It feels a lot better than it did in spring training," Rodriguez said after the 48-minute workout. "Now it's just a matter of getting into playing shape."
The Yankees don't expect the three-time AL MVP to rejoin the team until about May 15. Rodriguez has been optimistic about returning sooner and said the next three to four days will be important in deciding when he can play in a minor league rehab game.
"I'm working as hard as possible to get there before then," Rodriguez said of the May 15 target date. "Hopefully I'll be back as good as new."
A-Rod spent time with his teammates later Monday in the clubhouse before the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, about a 30-minute drive from the minor league facility.
Rodriguez had surgery March 9 in Vail, Colo., to remove an impingement in the right hip joint and drain a cyst. The 12-time All-star played with the bad hip during the second half of last season. He will likely require a second hip operation after the season but is expected to ready for spring training 2010.
"It's obviously scary when you hear hip injury," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully everything works out. I've been very blessed that so far, so good."
Rodriguez most likely will curtail his pregame drills once he rejoins the Yankees.
"The big thing we talked about is really monitoring my work and not to go overboard," he said. "Limiting my practice swings, limiting my workload between games. Sometimes missing batting practice two, three times a week. As it gets closer to me getting back, those things will be addressed."
Rodriguez came close to having a major hip procedure that would have sidelined him until August or later.
"The first surgery was almost scheduled," Rodriguez said. "Ownership was very supportive and they just basically gave me all my options. I just felt this was best for our team and best for me. It's a risk I'm willing to take. I think we have a very special team."
Rodriguez spent five weeks after surgery rehabbing in Colorado. The extended stay gave him the opportunity to refocus on baseball.
"In a funny way, Colorado was unbelievable," Rodriguez said. "Gave me time to rethink things and reorganize thoughts. It gave me the opportunity to cut some of the fat. Try to figure where you want to be. It's all about our team. It's all about everything [else] on the back burner."
New York manager Joe Girardi was planning to watch part of Rodriguez's workout on Tuesday.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was at the minor league complex Monday and underwent treatment for a sore left wrist. He also had an MRI that showed no major issues.
Teixeira was out of the lineup for the third straight game Monday night, but he hopes to return for Tuesday's game with the Rays.
"Everything is good," Teixeira said. "We're just taking it very smart. It would be very disappointing if I don't play [Tuesday]."
Teixeira is taking anti-inflammatory medication.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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