Monday, September 3, 2012

He's Back!!

Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images
On this Labor Day, while most people will be celebrating having the extra day off, Yankee fans will celebrate the return of Alex Rodriguez. After spending a stint on the disabled list since July 24 with a fractured left hand, Alex will bat cleanup for the Yankees today; a move that will hopefully add some needed offense to a sluggish lineup as of late. It will also hopefully give the team some leverage against the bevy of left-handed pitchers they will face for the next few days against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Alex was plunked by an 88 mph changeup from "King" Felix Hernandez in a 3-game series gainst the Seattle Mariners. While early reports of a "non-displaced" fracture on the hand quelled worries that Alex would be done for the season, the idea of him missing 6-8 weeks, as reported, was disappointing. Today puts him back just under a full six weeks, which is a great sign that he is fully loaded and ready to go.

After two rehab stints with the Yankees A affiliate Tampa Yankees, Alex was excused from a third game yesterday; the team allowing him to participate in a "rigorous" workout. Upon completion, he was deemed okay to return to the lineup.

As reported on, before Alex left for the DL, he was batting .333 going 13-for-39 with seven runs, two home runs and six RBIs in the 10 games prior. Hopefully he will continue where he left off, as the lineup has struggled mightily to provide runs for their starters lately when facing left-handed pitching. In today's game, the Yankees face Rays lefty James Shields.

Besides Alex's return, this is a big series for the Yankees. They lead the AL East by only two games, with the Baltimore Orioles and Rays right behind them. If they can win this series, helped by losses to Baltimore in their road trip to Toronto, the Yankees will have a nice cushion to build on and hopefully maintain as they await the close return of Andy Pettite. CC Sabathia gets the start today. Game time is 1:10 pm ET.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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