A-Rod showing comfort at 1B

A-Rod showing comfort at 1B

TAMPA, Fla. -- Two games into Alex Rodriguez's experiment at first base, the veteran infielder has shown the Yankees enough that they may feel comfortable having him serve as a backup there this season.

Rodriguez made a couple of nifty scoops on balls thrown by shortstop Stephen Drew during his six innings in the field in Thursday's 6-2 victory over the Pirates, including nearly starting a first-inning double play.

"A lot more action today. It was fun," Rodriguez said. "I had a good time out there."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that after watching Rodriguez in the field on Thursday, he is starting to realistically envision using Rodriguez as a third line of defense behind first basemen Mark Teixeira and Garrett Jones.

A-Rod scoops throw

"He got some plays today," Girardi said. "He was upset with himself that he didn't turn the double play; he expected it. It was good."

After playing only shortstop and third base in his big league career, Rodriguez said that he has enjoyed a chance to see the game from a new angle.

"For one, I didn't realize how involved and alert you have to be on every play," Rodriguez said. "Even on a base hit up the middle, I had to sprint to the mound for a cutoff man. Those are things that I've never really had to do. A couple times, you find yourself just kind of standing around not knowing what to do and then you kind of go. It's not really natural."

Rodriguez received a little extra work thanks to Drew, who has been strictly playing second base this spring, but now has returned to take reps at his original position following an injury to backup shortstop Brendan Ryan. Two of Drew's tosses to first dropped well short of the bag, but Rodriguez displayed quick reflexes to snatch them.

"I told Alex, he needs practice over there. We talked about it earlier," Drew said. "I said, 'We might as well just give you some while we're at it in Spring Training.' And look what happens."

Rodriguez also will be called on to play some third base this season, though he is primarily going to be used as a DH. He was 0-for-3 in the victory and is batting .286 (12-for-42) with a double, three homers and four RBIs in 18 Grapefruit League games.

"Most importantly, I feel healthy," Rodriguez said. "That's always a relief, to get out of here as healthy as possible. For the most part, as a team, we've done a good job of that. Just being back in the mix with my teammates, getting the support of a lot of people, I feel good."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.