A-Rod back at third base for Yanks

Updated: June 18, 2010, 6:57 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez will be back at third base Friday night for the first time since leaving a game in Baltimore on June 10 after one inning with what the Yankees termed a strained right hip flexor.

A-Rod will play third and bat cleanup in the opening game of Subway Series II at Yankee Stadium. The decision was not made until about 4:30 Friday afternoon, after Rodriguez took some infield practice and demonstrated to the satisfaction of manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees training staff that he would have the mobility to play third base.

"Our lineup is really dependent upon him," Girardi said at his pregame news conference, pointing out that A-Rod's availability to play the field also impacted whether Jorge Posada, recuperating from a broken right foot, would catch or DH. "There's a domino effect there."

After Rodriguez's fielding drill, the dominos fell into place -- he would resume playing third base, Posada would DH and bat sixth, and Francisco Cervelli would catch and bat seventh.

"I'm OK," A-Rod said as he came off the field. "So far, so good."

In addition, regular center fielder Curtis Granderson, who sometimes struggles against left-handed pitching, will not start against Mets southpaw Hisanori Takahashi. In his place, Brett Gardner will be in center and rookie Chad Huffman was penciled into left field.

"Our lineup has not been consistent because of all the injuries," Girardi said, also citing injuries to Marcus Thames (currently on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring) and Nick Johnson (on the 60-day DL after surgery on an inflamed right wrist tendon). "Hopefully, this is the end and we'll be able to get through this."

Rodriguez missed four games with his injury, which he described as a groin strain, and returned to the lineup Wednesday night against the Phillies as the DH. In the two games since his return, he's has two hits in seven at-bats with an RBI double. Overall, he is hitting .290 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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