Alex Rodriguez knew it as soon as ball met wood. This one was headed a long way.
Rodriguez’s shot off the Tigers’ Rick Porcello cleared the left-field scoreboard at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday, letting the Yankees slugger glow a little bit about it: “That one felt good, because it wasn’t an everyday home run.”
Actually, for A-Rod, it was the first home run in 2010, leaving the Yankees hoping there will be many more to come. He said that he has been spending more time in the cage now after focusing on conditioning early.
“I’ve been swinging OK,” Rodriguez said. “My emphasis the first part of Spring Training is to make sure I get all my work in, and that [begins] early in the morning. As you get closer to Opening Day, you want to make sure you hone in on your swing, and so far so good.
“I had a really good session with Kevin Long and Reggie [Jackson] on one of the back fields a couple of days ago, and we’re on schedule. … You just make sure that your legs are under you and you’re in
great condition to play six or seven days a week every day.”
Rodriguez said that there are still some limitations to what he can do one year after right hip surgery, but it is not that he can’t do certain things – he’s just trying for quality over quantity, as prescribed by Dr. Marc Philippon.
“You’ve just got to work a little bit more diligently,” A-Rod said. “Overall, it
was good to get back a full winter of training. You just cut your
swings in half and ground balls, you just can’t go and do all the crazy
things you did before and take 100 swings a day. Every swing, you’ve
got to make it count.”
Asked if that’s hard for him to swallow after doing it so many years his own way, Rodriguez said that these are the ‘Philippon Rules’ and he has to stick to them.
“He didn’t give me an option,” Rodriguez said. “Philippon was very specific about the
workload and I thought it was a plan that I put into play last year. It
worked and I’m very comfortable with it. I’m used to it now.”
- Notes & quotes: Mariano Rivera said “everything was good” in his 10-pitch inning and he’ll take the mound again on Sunday … Girardi said that he’s OK with Marcus Thames’ performance so far in a small sample size (3-for-25, .120), saying that he’s had good at-bats and some line-outs. He’s competing with Jamie Hoffmann (3-for-22, .136) to be the right-handed bat off the bench … Jon Weber (10-for-17, .588) is having a “great spring” and it would have been “very possible” that he could have been considered if he wasn’t left-handed, Girardi said. Termed a “survivor” by the skipper, Weber is slated to open at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.