The Alex Rodriguez comeback trail took another important step forward today when the team announced he has been cleared to start his Minor League rehab assignment on July 1st. The Daily News had the full story and comments from Cash on the situation, including the obligatory Biogenesis references, and it sounds like everything is progressing nicely for A-Rod. He’s been running and fielding down in Tampa for a few weeks and started taking live batting practice last week, all without any reported pain or issues with his surgically-repaired hip.
Whether you’re an A-Rod supporter or A-Rod hater, there’s no denying that this is good news for the Yankees. They’ve gotten a .246/.302/.337 batting line from their third baseman this season and are still incredibly weak and vulnerable against left-handed pitching. A diminished A-Rod is still a significant upgrade over that type of production. As with Michael Pineda, this rehab assignment will likely use all of the available 30 days. Rodriguez hasn’t had any at-bats since last October and will need the reps, and the team will want to see how the hip and the rest of his body responds to playing regularly.