A-Rod has oblique stiffness; MRI negative

Yankees DH felt discomfort while taking swings in indoor batting cage

A-Rod has oblique stiffness; MRI negative

NEW YORK -- Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez exited Sunday's 8-1 loss to the Rays at Yankee Stadium with stiffness in his left oblique. He underwent an MRI after the game, which came back negative. Rodriguez will travel with the team to Arlington for the series against the Rangers.

After the game that closed a 3-6 homestand, manager Joe Girardi was worried he might be without his slugger for a prolonged period.

"Anytime anyone leaves with an oblique you're not really optimistic because they take a while, depending on the severity of it," Girardi said. "Sometimes even when players physically feel ready I don't think they have the strength they had before. It takes some time to get that back.

"So yeah, I worry. Hopefully whatever it is is really, really minor. He said he didn't feel that bad when he left to do the MRI, but the MRI will tell us a lot more."

Girardi said he was made aware of Rodriguez's condition when the right-handed hitter began to warm up in the indoor batting cage during the top of the sixth inning. Dustin Ackley pinch-hit for Rodriguez during the bottom half of the frame and singled, his first hit of the year after opening 0-for-7.

Rodriguez, who came into the game 4-for-28 (.143) on the homestand, contributed an RBI double off the left-field fence with two outs in the fourth inning. It was his first double and third extra-base hit (also two homers) of the season. He struck out earlier in the game, giving him 19 K's in 55 at-bats.

"I got word so I got Ack," Girardi said. "It wasn't when he hit that double, it was when he was getting ready for his next at-bat, taking a few hits in the cage."

Rodriguez is batting .145 (8-for-55) with two homers and six RBIs on the season. He broke an 0-for-19 slump in the second game of this homestand with his latest homer -- giving him 689 in his career. Girardi didn't have him in the lineup for the first game of the homestand.

A-Rod's two-run blast

Rodriguez, who turns 41 on July 27, has struggled at the plate since last Aug. 1, batting .181 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs. He was also 0-for-4 in New York's loss to the Astros in the American League Wild Card Game.

Overall, though, he had an impressive comeback year after missing most of 2013 because of hip surgery and all of 2014 because of a suspension. He batted .250 with a .356 on-base percentage, an .842 OPS, 33 homers and 86 RBIs.

Rodriguez is 11 home runs away from becoming the fourth player to reach the 700-homer plateau and 25 away from Yankees icon Babe Ruth, who's third on the all-time list with 714 homers.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.