Alex Rodriguez cleared to face live pitching

6/17/13 in MLB   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Apr 13, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Injured New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) sits in the dugout during the third inning of a MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsNew York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip) has yet to face a pitch this season. While it will be quite some time before he's able to face a pitch at the Major League level, A-Rod will take a big step in his recovery on Tuesday when he faces live pitching for the first time since undergoing hip surgery in January.

Having ran the bases at 75 percent over the weekend, the fact that Rodriguez is now cleared to face live pitching indicates that his base running went as planned and he experienced no setbacks. If A-Rod is able to continue his rehab with no complications, it appears that he will be ready to join the Yankees shortly after the All-Star break.

Rodriguez is coming off a season in which he missed the All-Star game for the first time since 1995, when he was 19 years old. He batted .272 with 18 home runs, 57 RBI, and 74 runs scored.

Although we're long past the days of A-Rod playing like one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, the Yankees could still use his bat in their lineup. Kevin Youkilis has been the Yankees' primary third baseman this season, but is batting just .219 through 28 games.

The designated hitter spot - which is more likely the role that Rodriguez will fill - has been an issue for the Yankees as well. Though Travis Hafner got off to a good start this season, he has batted just .127 over his past 19 games, and his average is down to .221.

Although Yankee fans are completely fed up with Rodriguez and likely cringe every time he comes up in the news, he could provide an upgrade in the lineup once he returns. Facing live pitching is a big step in the rehab process, and Rodriguez is about to take that step.
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