Wednesday, January 7, 2015

With spring training nearing, A-Rod working hard to get in shape

Not many people seem to believe he can still play, but Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez is working hard to return to the field. 

Rodriguez has been looking good in his recent workouts, according to a source in contact with The New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand. The 39-year-old, coming off a year-long suspension for steroid use, hasn't started regularly for the Yankees in two seasons, but is expected to be the club's DH on Opening Day. 

"Everything he's doing in Miami, he's trying to do it at game speed," the source told Feinsand. "His bat is getting through the zone quickly."

The Yankees surely can't dislike that observation, as the team hit under .250 last season for the second consecutive year. Indeed, New York's batting average in 2014 reached just .245, a full 20-point drop from where it was in 2012. 

Yet it's somewhat difficult to think how bringing in Rodriguez as an everyday guy would better that stat, especially since the veteran is only impressing right now against college and independant league pitchers. 

“His power is still there,” the source said. “He’s healthy. That’s the biggest thing.”

Rodriguez missed most of 2013 after undergoing hip surgery, so his being in shape is certainly important to the Yankees. They dealt with plenty of injuries last season, including but not limited to ones to Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Carlos Beltran.

The Yankees are hopeful Rodriguez can use that wellness to contribute to their bottom third of the order next year, where the slugger will likely slide in between Didi Gregorius and whoever wins the second base job.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)