A-Rod won't return when eligible Thursday

Yankees DH out since May 3 with strained right hamstring

A-Rod won't return when eligible Thursday

PHOENIX -- The Yankees had voiced optimism that Alex Rodriguez's strained right hamstring would permit him to return to the lineup when eligible, but a jog across the outfield grass at Chase Field has changed those plans.

Rodriguez took batting practice on the field for a second straight day on Tuesday, but his hamstring is still tight. Manager Joe Girardi said that Rodriguez will not run the bases as originally scheduled on Wednesday, effectively ruling him out to play on Thursday against the Athletics.

"My guess is he's not going to be ready on Thursday now," Girardi said after the Yankees' 5-3 loss to the D-backs. "He's still got some hurdles to cross to get by and he's just not by them yet. He really hasn't had a setback. We were hoping for 15 days; it's probably going to be a few more than that."

Asked if he still expects to be activated sometime during the four-game series in Oakland, which runs through Sunday, Rodriguez said, "Accurate."

The delay could mean a few extra days of big league service time for Rob Refsnyder, who was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday and is a likely candidate to be optioned back to the Minors when Rodriguez is activated.

Even prior to taking BP, the 40-year-old designated hitter sounded less than certain that he would be ready to return from what the Yankees called a "Grade 1-plus" strain, sustained while running to first base on May 3 in Baltimore.

"The next 48 hours will be big," Rodriguez said. "Until you get cleats on and turn bases, that's the biggest challenge."

The Yankees still do not believe that Rodriguez will require a Minor League rehab assignment, since he does not need to be ready to play the field. Rodriguez said that he is deferring to head athletic trainer Steve Donohue to plot out his next steps.

"I'm not predicting when I'm going to play, but Stevie and I will have to talk about that," Rodriguez said.

Though he is hitting just .194 this season, he had homered in three of his last five games before going on the DL.

"I don't know how I'll feel," Rodriguez said. "I'll let you know after my first eight at-bats. I've had times when I've felt good and some times that it's just taken me a few at-bats."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.