A-Rod expected back in Yankees' lineup Friday

A-Rod expected back in Yankees' lineup Friday

A-Rod expected back in Yankees' lineup Friday
SEATTLE -- It will come a tad later than expected, but manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that Alex Rodriguez will return to the starting lineup for Friday's series opener at Toronto.

The third baseman, who was expected to miss three to four days after his thumb began acting up again last Friday, took grounders and threw long toss before Wednesday's game. Girardi said he would have Rodriguez in the lineup Friday, watch how he does in batting practice and go from there.

"We decided for him to not hit [Wednesday]," Girardi said. "We said, 'You know what, if we can give him two more days before he actually swings on it, it's probably better off for our plans just to put him in their Friday.'"

Rodriguez, who hasn't taken batting practice since Friday, injured his thumb during his first game back from knee surgery on Aug. 21, and it got to the point after Friday's 2-1 loss at Anaheim where the pain was too much.

He has missed the past five games. Frustration is the best word to describe how the 36-year-old has been feeling lately.

"It's one of the most frustrating stretches of my career, just to be sitting back and watching," said Rodriguez, who missed time earlier this season following right knee surgery. "To have a good rehab on my knee, then on the first play -- literally -- they hit it to me and it does that to my thumb. Kind of a freak accident -- it's very frustrating."

Rodriguez, who rolled over on his thumb on a Joe Mauer grounder last Friday, added that his thumb probably won't feel 100 percent until next spring and that "there's not one guy in this clubhouse that's not playing with bumps and bruises." He's played in just 10 games after the All-Star break, hitting .194 with four RBIs.