A-Rod receives a day of rest

A-Rod receives a day of rest

BALTIMORE -- The early-afternoon ritual appeared much the same for Alex Rodriguez, who ran pass patterns across the outfield grass at Camden Yards, hauling in football passes in an agility exercise.

But even though A-Rod was able to work up a sweat getting in his training, the Yankees wanted to let him treat Monday mostly as a rest, and Rodriguez received a breather after playing nine games in 10 days as New York opened a seven-game road trip to Baltimore and Toronto. Jerry Hairston Jr. filled in at third base.

"As long as I know what he's thinking and he knows what we're thinking, I think it becomes easier to understand," manager Joe Girardi said. "Physically, he understands that he's been through a lot this year, and he has to be smart."

The 34-year-old Rodriguez had not missed a game since Aug. 13-14 at Seattle, when he was recovering after taking a pitch on the left elbow, but he has had the benefit of two scheduled off-days along the way.

Still mindful of protecting the third baseman as he battles through following right hip surgery, Girardi said that he went to Rodriguez during the homestand and discussed giving him either Sunday or Monday off, and it was agreed that he would rest at Camden Yards.

Because the Yankees' game on Sunday was a day game, that essentially gives Rodriguez close to a full 48 hours off.

"The important thing is that when he's out there, he feels good," Girardi said. "It's constant communication, and it's important that we do that. Truly, he knows how his body feels on any given day. We can make an assumption by watching him, but I think it's important that we listen to him."

Since being reinstated from the disabled list on May 8 and homering in his first swing of the season at Camden Yards, Rodriguez is batting .270 with 23 home runs and 70 RBIs. Of those 70 RBIs, 34 have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.

"I'm extremely pleased," Girardi said. "If he has a big month, he can drive in 100 runs and miss five weeks of the season. That's pretty good. We're extremely pleased with what we've got. The way he's played has been great."

The scheduling maneuvers are not limited to Rodriguez -- Girardi said that on this road trip, he ideally would like to be able to give each regular a day off.

"Physically, we've talked about being smart with guys," Girardi said. "That's not going to change."

Bombers bits: A scheduled start on Thursday is in doubt for right-hander Sergio Mitre, who was struck on the right forearm by a batted ball on Saturday against the White Sox. Mitre is scheduled to play light catch on Monday, but Chad Gaudin has already been told to prepare as though he will start on Thursday at Toronto. The Yankees want to be smart, as Mitre is coming off Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery.

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