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Best-case return for A-Rod is Friday

Best-case return for A-Rod is Friday

NEW YORK -- On the same afternoon that Alex Rodriguez's face showed up in bookstores across the country, the Yankees' third baseman moved seven innings closer to reappearing in the big leagues.

Rodriguez played third base in an extended spring game against Phillies Minor Leaguers on Monday in Clearwater, Fla., hitting a home run off J.C. Romero and working a walk in six at-bats. He did not see any action while playing defense.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that it was possible Rodriguez could rejoin the club on Friday, when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore.

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"So much of it just depends on how he feels and when he believes he's ready to go," Girardi said. "I have not really put a date on it, because I want to see how he bounces back. It's up to him. When he feels that he's ready, we're probably going to take him back."

Rodriguez is scheduled to play another extended spring game on Tuesday, serving seven innings in the field as he makes his way back from March 9 right hip surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Rodriguez ran the bases on Monday but did not slide on dirt, and Girardi said that Rodriguez would not necessarily need to do so before being activated, since he has slid on a pad.

The Associated Press reported that Rodriguez did not take questions after the game but said he "feels good." Earlier in the day, an unauthorized biography by Selena Roberts, "A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez," was released.

In the book, Roberts links the slugger's tabloid-like fame and use of performance-enhancing substances with a father who abandoned him and an unquenchable desire for attention. It also delves into details of the leaked allegations that A-Rod used PEDs with the Yankees and tipped pitches to opposing players.

Girardi said that he does not feel a need to read the book and said that he did not think the release would affect the three-time American League Most Valuable Player. The Yankees had said repeatedly that Rodriguez was expected back by May 15, but Rodriguez has said he hopes to beat that conservative timetable.

"I know he's anxious to get back," Girardi said. "I know he's enjoying his rehab in a sense because he's getting to do what he loves to do. I mean, he's been through a lot in his life, so I don't necessarily think that this is going to affect him."

In other updates, the Yankees announced that right-hander Ian Kennedy was seen in New York on Monday, and no changes were recommended in his treatment for a vasospasm in his right middle finger. Kennedy will continue not to throw and is to be reevaluated on Thursday.

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

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