Monday, May 6, 2013
A-Rod's role in 2013
By Jason A. Churchill
Alex Rodriguez will begin baseball activities Monday, writes ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand, suggesting there is a chance the veteran could return to the lineup sooner than originally expected. The road back is still fairly long, but let's look ahead, anyway.
While Rodriguez reported to the club's spring training complex Monday morning, where he ran, played catch and hit off a tee, as the Daily News reports, let's set the scene several weeks in the future.
We'll say it's July and both Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis are activated and available. Plus, by that time, Mark Teixeira should also be just about ready. If all three are back, how does skipper Joe Girardi use them?
Obviously, whichever ones are producing the most are ultimately going to gain the edge in playing time, but the trio could see regularly scheduled days off as well as shifts at DH to help keep them healthy and fresh. Travis Hafner is the club's regular designated hitter right now, but even with four players sharing three spots -- first base, third base and DH -- each should still should get consistent at-bats.
It's probably asking too much for the 38-year-old Rodriguez to be able to handle the hot corner every day, so while he may be progressing well in his rehab, as the Post's George King reports, A-Rod's return isn't likely to mean he is simply handed his old role on a platter. Where he bats in the lineup may be interesting, too.
Chris Nelson and Jayson Nix could ultimately fight for the right to remain on the roster once the aforementioned three veterans are healthy.