Alex Rodriguez out again

Updated: April 19, 2011, 11:29 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

TORONTO -- Alex Rodriguez was not in the New York Yankees lineup for Tuesday's game with the Blue Jays, still feeling the effects of what he is calling an oblique injury and team doctors are calling a lower back injury.

It was the second straight game Rodriguez has missed because of the injury, suffered on a swing during Saturday's 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

"We decided to take one more day and play tomorrow," Rodriguez said before the Yankees lost 6-5 in 10 innings. "I think if it was different circumstances, in September in the middle of a pennant race, perhaps we could strap it on today. But I think we're trying to be smart about it. We're in the middle of April. Gun to the head, there's no question I could probably strap it on today, but I think everyone's opinion was to take one more day.''

Rodriguez has not played since leaving in the seventh inning of Saturday's victory over Texas. He's batting .385 with four homers and nine RBIs, and leads the AL in on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.821).

Rodriguez said the decision not to play was made about 4 p.m. ET after a meeting with manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees training staff. He did not take batting practice with the club, but hit the tosses of batting coach Kevin Long in the indoor cage before the game.

"We had a good session,'' Rodriguez said. "I probably took 40 or 50 swings and felt pretty good.''

Long echoed Rodriguez's report.

"He looked good, explosive,'' Long said. "If he was favoring anything, I couldn't pick it up.''

Still, it was surprising to see Rodriguez not in the lineup after he expressed his intentions on Sunday to play Tuesday after an MRI came back negative, and after an off-day on Monday. But he acknowledged that he is not entirely pain-free.

"There's just a little something, but that's natural, you're always going to feel a little something,'' he said. "It's just one spot, about the size of a quarter.''

It was unclear if Rodriguez was available to pinch-hit; Girardi said he and Rodriguez would discuss his availability just before game time, after Rodriguez went through the rest of his pregame fielding drills.

"I'll think about it, see how he feels, and then we'll make a decision,'' Girardi said. "He said he feels good but a lot of times in these things you kind of want to test it before you throw him right back in there and see how it is.''

Eric Chavez replaced Rodriguez at third base and Robinson Cano batted cleanup.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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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