When legs are strong, A-Rod a force

When legs are strong, A-Rod a force

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez says he can still do some special things when his legs are underneath him, and it's Joe Girardi's job to keep the Yankees slugger feeling that fresh.

One day after Rodriguez tied former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth place on the all-time list with his 630th career home run, Girardi slotted the 36-year-old slugger in as the designated hitter for Saturday's matinee against the Angels.

"You just kind of try to watch how he's moving in his at-bats," Girardi said, "[and] if you feel like there's that explosiveness in everything that he's doing -- it's really watching really closely, how your perception of how a guy feels and then talking to him and making that decision with their input."

Rodriguez has been using what he calls a "less is more" approach with his workouts, hoping to avoid a repeat of a frustrating 2011 season in which he missed 38 team games after undergoing right knee surgery on a torn meniscus in July.

"I take it one day at a time," Rodriguez said. "For me, it's all about health and feeling good. There's no question in my mind that if I'm healthy and have my legs under me that I can play at a high level and help the team win."