A-Rod 'hopeful' after swinging off tee

A-Rod 'hopeful' after swinging off tee

ARLINGTON -- The Yankees decided on Tuesday to give Alex Rodriguez one more day to rest his injured left oblique, planning instead to start him on Wednesday against Rangers lefty Martin Perez, manager Joe Girardi said.

Not only was Rodriguez not in the lineup on Tuesday, his availability as a pinch-hitter was uncertain when Girardi addressed the situation before the game, even though Rodriguez took about 25 swings off a tee on Monday night and did not suffer any setbacks.

"I'm hopeful -- it feels pretty good," Rodriguez said. "Better than yesterday."

The injury has interrupted Rodriguez's efforts to right his early struggles; he broke an 0-for-12 skid with an RBI double on Sunday before tweaking his side and lower back while warming up in the batting cage and leaving the game.

"A guy gets a hit, and you hope that's what really gets him going. You hate for him to sit for a couple days," Girardi said. "But I don't think it'll hurt."

Rodriguez, who is hitting .145 with only three extra-base hits, addressed his struggles on Monday, saying the timing is "unfortunate" but that he believes he's making progress.

"I've had so many bad at-bats, and I finally had a good at-bat and then I get banged up a little bit," he said. "But I feel like I'm getting close, and I also think my body's coming around, and hopefully there's really good things ahead."

Bombers bits
• Shortstop Didi Gregorius made his fourth error of the season on Monday night when a ground ball went to the right of second base while the infield was shifted. Gregorius' four errors were the second-most of any American League fielder entering Tuesday's game, and his .931 fielding percentage is way off his 2016 mark of .979. He made only 13 errors last season; Girardi thinks he's merely a victim of bad luck right now.

"I actually thought the ball came up on him last night," Girardi said. "This infield [at Globe Life Park is] very fast, and it's going to play different from ours. I think he's a really good defender; I'm not concerned. If it lasts for a while, then that's a different story."

• Suspended reliever Aroldis Chapman is less than two weeks away from a May 9 return and continues to pitch in extended spring training games, and Girardi is already beginning to think about how tough his bullpen will be with Chapman in it.

Entering Tuesday's game, Yankees relievers led the Majors with an average 12.17 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. Chapman is the all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings, with a career mark of 15.4.

"It's going to be really nice to have [him]. There are going to be days where maybe you can't use one [reliever], and that's OK," Girardi said. "It just gives us a lot of depth, and it really adds to our bullpen."

• When reliever Dellin Betances allowed a solo homer on Monday night to Rangers catcher Brett Nicholas -- Nicholas' first Major League homer -- it ended a streak of eight appearances in which he had struck out at least two batters and allowed no homers. That tied his own club record and tied for the third-longest such streak in the Majors since 1913.

"Sometimes that's going to happen. It's part of the game," Betances said of giving up homers. "The good thing is that we were winning, 3-0."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.