A-Rod prepares for Wednesday return

A-Rod prepares for Wednesday return

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez's strained right hip flexor didn't prevent him from signing autographs for fans outside Yankee Stadium's Great Hall before Tuesday's game against the Phillies, but it was enough to keep his name from appearing in the starting lineup against Roy Halladay.

The Yankees' plan has been adjusted to have Rodriguez play third base on Wednesday against Philadelphia, with manager Joe Girardi believing that the Yankees could be "full-go" after Rodriguez came through a full batting-practice session healthy on Tuesday.

"You want to be smart about this and also take more of a long-term approach," Rodriguez said. "I'm following the doctor's instructions and trying to listen to my body. Hopefully, I'll come back [Wednesday], and that's a good thing."

Hours after Rodriguez and teammate Robinson Cano ventured outside the Stadium's Gate 6 to glad-hand fans as part of the Yankees' once-per-homestand meet-and-greet effort, Rodriguez said he took ground balls, threw and hit in the underground cages.

"I felt OK -- no setbacks," Rodriguez said. "I'm just going to finish the last part of my treatment today. Yesterday, I had a good day, and today is also a good day."

Girardi said that his original plan was to have Rodriguez serve as New York's designated hitter against Halladay and have Jorge Posada catch, but team medical staff advised that one more day for A-Rod would be the safer route. Rodriguez could still be available as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday.

Girardi said that Rodriguez's issue -- and not a recurrence of Posada's right foot injury -- was responsible for Posada's DH duty after Monday's off-day. Francisco Cervelli was in New York's starting lineup at catcher instead, paired with left-hander CC Sabathia.

Rodriguez said that he has never experienced a groin situation like this one, but he said that he understands his March 2009 right hip surgery and his age -- he turns 35 next month -- were magnifying the issue somewhat.

"If you're 24 and you have a groin [situation], you don't get those questions asked," Rodriguez said. "It's obviously something you have to keep an eye on. I did have the surgery, although this has nothing to do with it. I really don't think age has anything to do with it, because I feel pretty darn good. I was beginning to swing the bat pretty well, and unfortunately, I had a little setback."

Rodriguez said that team physician Christopher Ahmad and Dr. Marc Philippon -- the Vail, Colo.-based specialist who performed his hip surgery -- have both assured the slugger that the hip flexor injury has no connection to last year's procedure -- or the scheduled follow-up surgery which was nixed after the World Series.

"Dr. Philippon assured me that the pictures were as clean as they could possibly be and there's no need to worry about a second surgery," Rodriguez said. "With that, we can really narrow in on the groin and the hip flexor."

Rodriguez is hitting .290 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs in 58 games for New York, after hitting .286 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in 124 games upon coming back from surgery in 2009. A-Rod said that he did not believe the drop in power was as pronounced as it was late in 2008.

"I thought in '08, it was a very obvious situation that I wasn't catching up to anything over 88 [mph]," Rodriguez said. "That's not the situation this year. As far as my home runs, they're just down. The year is not over yet."

-- Bryan Hoch