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A-Rod rained out of scheduled rehab game

On Class A assignment, third baseman on track for July 22 return to Yankees

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez was scheduled to continue his Minor League rehab assignment Friday with the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees, but their doubleheader against the Lakeland Flying Tigers was canceled due to rain.

With no work to be done on the field, Rodriguez took to the batting cages at Joker Marchant Stadium and had six simulated at-bats, adding that he "did some good work" despite the weather.

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"We made the most out of it," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez will remain with Tampa on Saturday, as scheduled, making the trip across the state to play the Brevard County Manatees in Viera. He added that he would have to speak to the Yankees' front office to make any plans beyond Saturday.

Saturday will mark the fifth day of A-Rod's 20-day rehab assignment, which puts him on schedule to return to the Yankees on July 22.

Rodriguez, who has been sidelined all season following left hip surgery, went 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a strikeout in the first two games of his rehab assignment with Class A Charleston. He said Friday he was happy that he was able to see the ball and put it in play, even if the results weren't there, but it will take "at least" 25 at-bats before he even starts to think about getting his timing down.

"For me, it was just great to be under the lights again, playing baseball. It's been nine months for me. It's been a long time," Rodriguez said. "Just felt great energy, great fans. It was pretty exciting to be out playing baseball. It's what I love to do."

Rodriguez said his body has held up fine so far, adding that "everything's good," physically. But he's still getting back into game shape, having played only two games since last October without a normal Spring Training schedule.

"No matter what kind of shape you're in, baseball shape is completely different," he said. "I don't care how hard you work in the offseason. When you get out in cleats and you're in Spring Training, you have soreness that you've never felt before."

With shortstop Derek Jeter set to begin his rehab assignment Saturday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Rodriguez working his way back into game shape, A-Rod said he was hopeful the Yankees will be back at full strength soon and ready to make a push into the postseason. But he also spoke cautiously about the early stages of the rehab process.

"Nothing changes. Business as usual. We all have a schedule," Rodriguez said. "We all want to rush to get back as soon as we can, but we have to be smart."

Adam Berry is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez