PHOENIX -- The Yankees are pushing Alex Rodriguez's earliest activation date back another day, with manager Joe Girardi now saying the best case would have him appearing in Saturday's lineup against the Athletics in Oakland.
Rodriguez, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, is eligible to be activated on Thursday but is not moving well enough in the team's estimation. He did not report any further discomfort on Wednesday, but still has yet to run the bases.
"We need him to pick up the speed a little bit where he can run where he needs to run," Girardi said. "It's just a day-by-day process and we'll see how good he feels."
Girardi, head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, strength and conditioning coach Matt Krause and bench coach Rob Thomson all watched Rodriguez work out on the outfield grass Wednesday afternoon, as Rodriguez jogged from right field to center field, then ran several half-moons across the lip of the infield.
"[He looked] better," Girardi said. "He'll do that again tomorrow, maybe get on the bases a little bit and we'll see where he's at."
Rodriguez sustained the strain, which the club termed a "Grade one-plus," running to first base in a May 3 game at Baltimore. The 40-year-old designated hitter is batting .194 with five homers and 12 RBIs in 20 games this season, and though speed is no longer a major part of his game, Girardi said that the Yankees still need him to move in an acceptable fashion.
"He has to be able to run the bases. He has to be able to go from second to home, that sort of thing," Girardi said. "If he hits a ground ball that he's out, I don't expect him to go full-out. But he has to be able to score."
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.