- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Baseball's active home run leader participated in his first game of the season Tuesday night for the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs, and while Alex Rodriguez still has a way to go before he's actually manning third base for the New York Yankees, hey, it's a start. A-Rod was hitless in two at-bats as he continues to recover from left hip surgery, and while it was easy for fantasy owners to ignore him for the first three months, now is precisely the time -- not in three weeks -- to at least investigate whether he can potentially help you.
As of Tuesday night, Rodriguez was owned in 6.8 percent of ESPN standard leagues, which seems awfully low based not only on name value, but also potential production. After all, even as a shell of his former self, Rodriguez hit 18 home runs and stole 13 bases in 122 games last season. He hit a reasonable .272 along the way and finished the 2012 season as fantasy's No. 14 third baseman, ahead of such guys as Pedro Alvarez, Brett Lawrie and Jose Bautista. That's not too bad, and I admit to being surprised that the likes of Eric Chavez, Yuniesky Betancourt and Maicer Izturis, among third base-eligibles, are owned in more leagues. That will change in the coming days.