UPDATE: Monday, September 3 at 10:58 a.m. ET by Jessica Isner
Some good news for Yankees fans: He's back.
For the first time since breaking his hand on July 24, Alex Rodriguez will be back in the lineup for the Yankees when they take on the Orioles on Monday, according to a tweet from New York Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand:
Yankees lineup 9/3 at TB: Jeter 6, Swisher 3, Cano 4, Rodriguez DH,Chavez 5,Ibanez 7, Martin 2,Ichiro 9, Dickerson 8, Sabathia 1— Mark Feinsand (@BloggingBombers) September 3, 2012
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UPDATE: Sunday, September 2 at 11:50 a.m. ET by Adam Wells
With Curtis Granderson being unable to play on Sunday, the Yankees are in need of a little good news. It could be coming soon, in the form of Alex Rodriguez.
According to Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, A-Rod could be back in the lineup on Monday when the Yankees take on the Orioles in the finale of the four-game series.
The Yankees have missed Rodriguez’s presence in the middle of the lineup since he went down with a broken hand July 24.
But Rodriguez appears to be on the fast track back to the Bronx. He spent the week taking live batting practice at Yankee Stadium in addition to fielding grounders at third base with no restrictions.
The Yankees need to get healthy over the final month of the season if they want to keep their suddenly slim lead in the American League East.
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UPDATE: Thursday, August 30 at 12:45 p.m. ET by Adam Wells
Alex Rodriguez is slowly but surely moving closer to rejoining the Yankees, though there is not yet a definitive date for his return to the big leagues.
According to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News, Rodriguez will be playing games in the minors this weekend.
Alex Rodriguez will DH on Friday for Class-A Tampa, and if all goes well, he will play 3B there on Saturday.— Peter Botte (@PeterBotte) August 30, 2012
Rodriguez has not had his best season, but a .276/.358/.449 line for a third baseman by today's standards is pretty good. He is still a productive player who can make a difference for the Yankees down the stretch, though he will never be the superstar he once was.
Update: Tuesday, August 28 at 7:45 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
The Yankees were hit with bad news on Monday night with Mark Teixeira's calf injury, but things didn't stay negative for long.
ESPN New York reporter Mike Mazzeo reported on Tuesday that Alex Rodriguez took live batting practice for the first time since July 24:
This is certainly encouraging. Rodriguez was hitting .276 with 15 home runs and 44 RBI before the injury. With Teixeira out of commission for the near future, Rodriguez's return is needed in the Yankee lineup.
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NorthJersey.com is reporting about how A-Rod was injured and how severe the damage to his hand really is:
Alex Rodriguez dropped in the Safeco Field batter’s box holding his damaged left hand as he rocked on his back. The pain was such that he refused to let Yankees head athletic trainer Steve Donohue immediately remove his batting glove…X-rays revealed A-Rod had a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal, an injury that could cost him anywhere from four to eight weeks.
As terrible as the news of A-Rod’s injury is, it only compacts the recent losing skid (five of the last six games have been losses). If the Yankees want to hold on to their lead in the American League East, they need to figure out their issues and fast.
What It Means
The New York Yankees are in trouble.
Rodriguez joins a long list of injured Yankees superstars like Brett Gardner, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Michael Pineda; the injury bug has hit the pinstripes hard in 2012.
For A-Rod himself, the timetable for a return is between 4-8 weeks, but there is concern that coming back too soon could cause more damage to the fractured hand.
With the playoffs starting in September, the Yankees must ensure that their star slugger doesn’t make a premature return just to get in the lineup for a playoff game.
New York made a preemptive strike by acquiring Ichiro Suzuki to help alleviate the offensive and defensive woes left by the season-ending injury to Brett Gardner, but now the team will need his bat to catch fire.
Ichiro hasn’t hit well for a few seasons and his drop in production has many New York fans concerned.
With A-Rod out of the lineup and the boost of knowing he is playing for the postseason, Ichiro will see a big spike in offensive numbers.
As much as the former Mariner needs to play well, the team as a unit must realize the severity of their injury woes and take a stand. Every player on the Yankees must step up and help share the offensive workload left by the injury to A-Rod.
Filling Rodriguez’s shoes won’t be easy, though.
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