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A-Rod's plan for rest slightly altered

A-Rod's plan for rest slightly altered

ATLANTA -- Alex Rodriguez was back in the cleanup spot for the Yankees on Thursday, as his team looks to take advantage of some fortunate scheduling and continue playing him through the weekend.

Rodriguez thought he might take one of the games at Turner Field off against the Braves, keeping in line with a new plan to rest him one day per week. But since the Yankees have an off-day on Monday, it now appears possible he could play through the Subway Series vs. the Mets at Citi Field.

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"That's always good," Rodriguez said. "We'll talk about it in the weekend. In a perfect world, I'd play all four and then rest on Monday."

Citing fatigue as he plays with a surgically repaired right hip, Rodriguez rested for two games against the Marlins in Miami over the weekend and then had a scheduled off-day on Monday before the Yankees opened a three-game series in Atlanta.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad all spoke with Dr. Marc Philippon, the world-renowned hip specialist who performed Rodriguez's March 9 surgery. Philippon's opinion was that A-Rod could play five to six games in a row at this time, clearing him for possible action against the Mets.

"It'll be a lot of watching him, how he looks and is physically moving, and his bat speed," Girardi said. "If I think he's OK and he says he's OK, we might let him play through the six games, just because we have an off-day on Monday."

Rodriguez was mired in a 1-for-25 skid at the plate when he drilled a two-run single in the sixth inning of New York's 8-4 win over Atlanta on Wednesday, clapping his hands wildly as he rounded first base. Rodriguez also said some of his mobility in the field has been restored.

"I feel really good about the energy," Rodriguez said. "I had some good sessions with [hitting coach] Kevin Long, and I'm happy about how my body has reacted on both sides of the ball."

Girardi said that as soon as this stretch is complete, Rodriguez will return to the idea of taking one game off per week, but the schedule is playing in his favor right now. He understood that A-Rod would want to play on the New York stage in the high-profile intracity contests.

"It's hard to sit Alex any day, because you want him in your lineup," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. But I know how much he wants to play in this series."

Some dates for future rest are already circled: For example, Rodriguez will not play in one of the Yankees' July 7-9 games on the Twins' artificial turf at the Metrodome.

"I do have my limitations," Rodriguez said. "This year, I knew all the way from Day 1 that this was going to be a process, especially early on. I'm going to go out and do the best I can. But I don't feel any pressure -- I feel like I have a lot of work to do every day."

Rodriguez is batting .210 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs in 42 games entering play on Thursday, and Girardi said that he has not been tempted to move the three-time American League MVP out of the cleanup spot.

"We don't know exactly how his hip is going to react over the next three or four months," Girardi said. "He's been through a lot. He has driven in some runs, he's hit nine home runs, and if you look at [Mark] Teixeira's numbers at about the same point, they're about the same.

"But because it's Alex, it's always a little bit bigger deal, and the expectations are so high. But I believe he's still going to have a big year for us."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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