Notes: A-Rod won't elaborate on injuries

Notes: A-Rod won't elaborate on injuries

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez said Sunday that he has been dealing with injuries this year that, under normal circumstances, would have probably sent him to the disabled list. Monday, he had no interest in discussing those past injuries, choosing instead to focus on his future.

"I'm not going to get into that," Rodriguez said when asked about the specifics of his injury problems. "I'm focused right now on the present tense and what is going to happen."

The vague injury discussion left many questions unanswered, but no matter how many ways the question was posed, A-Rod wasn't going to help answer any of them.

"I don't want to put any excuses on anything I do; when I stink, I stink, and when I'm good, I'm good," he said. "I don't want to put it on something that's not relevant.

"Everybody goes through it; nobody is 100 percent the whole year," he continued. "That's baseball."

Joe Torre was unaware of any major injury problems for Rodriguez this season, but the manager believes that almost every regular player battles various health issues throughout the season.

"When you play this game on an everyday basis, there are very few days you play at 100 percent," Torre said. "Obviously it was nothing debilitating because he was out there every day. The fact that guys have to deal with things on a regular basis is no surprise to me.

"Unless he's kept it to himself -- which very well could be the case -- there's really nothing that he's had a great deal of treatment on that causes concern," Torre added. "Whatever was talked about, I'm guessing was on nagging stuff."

Rodriguez told the New York Post that his injuries caused problems for him both in the field and at the plate, but he said Monday that all of that is behind him.

"I do feel good; more than I have in the past," Rodriguez said. "For the last three or four weeks, I've felt 100 percent. It feels good to play that way. It's not an excuse for anything that I've done [when] I've stunk."

Rodriguez entered Monday's game with 10 hits in his past 22 at-bats, a .454 clip. He is hitting .286 with 25 home runs and 83 RBIs for the year, but believes that as good as he feels, his last seven weeks should be very productive.

"That would be awesome," Rodriguez said. "That would be really cool. Things have been going well lately, so hopefully we can continue that."

"He certainly has capabilities of being able to carry a ballclub," Torre said. "Hopefully he can catch on fire and do that for us."

Lining 'em up: Torre tinkered with the lineup on Monday, dropping A-Rod from the cleanup spot to fifth. Jason Giambi, who is 10-for-20 with two homers in his career against Angels starter John Lackey, was moved up to the No. 4 hole.

"Jason's had some luck against Lackey and I thought I'd move Alex to protect him a little bit," Torre said. "We've been sputtering a little bit offensively. Even the other day when we scored the five runs, it was all in one inning. I'd like to generate a little more offense and I'm shaking the lineup up a little bit."

The last time Rodriguez hit out of the cleanup spot was July 19, when he hit fifth. He has hit fourth 94 times this season, batting third twice and fifth 16 times.

Sturtze on the mend: Tanyon Sturtze made a rare appearance at Yankee Stadium on Monday, as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired shoulder.

Sturtze, who underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in May, also had work done to repair a small tear in his labrum, had a piece of the bone shaved off and the bursa sac removed.

"I'm not quite at three months yet, but it feels good," Sturtze said. "I'm starting to get strong again; I can lift three pounds."

Sturtze will visit Dr. James Andrews in about 10 days, at which time he hopes to be cleared to play catch. He will do a throwing program on flat ground for a few weeks to break up the scar tissue in September before shutting his shoulder down until January.

"They say I should be fine by spring," Sturtze said. "Hopefully I can get back to where I was before the surgery."

September sluggers? Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui haven't been cleared to take batting practice yet, making it unlikely that either player will be back before the second week of September.

Torre doesn't think it's realistic to expect much from either player before the middle of the month.

"I don't think either of them will be contributing in the first couple weeks of September," the manager said. "That's my guess; I could be wrong. I think the fact that they aren't able to take batting practice makes it realistic to think that way."

Taking the fifth: Torre hasn't announced his starter for the night game of Friday's doubleheader, but Sidney Ponson has "the inside track," according to the manager.

"He's obviously the experienced guy we would go to," Torre said. "If we called up somebody from the Minor Leagues, they wouldn't have the experience he has. ... He really hasn't pitched a great deal. We know he has good stuff; we know he's got a good arm and he's healthy."

Octavio on hold: Octavio Dotel pitched a perfect inning for Triple-A Columbus on Monday, striking out one batter. General manager Brian Cashman said that there were no immediate plans for the rehabbing reliever, but he believes that Dotel could join the team this month.

"There's a plan in place, so we're going to go through it," said Cashman, who wouldn't go into detail about that plan. "When he's ready to go, we'll take him."

Coming up: The Yankees open a three-game set with the Orioles in the Bronx on Tuesday, as Mike Mussina takes on Erik Bedard. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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