It was a thoroughly inauspicious return to action on Tuesday night for Alex Rodriguez, who played the first game of his minor league rehab assignment for the Yankees' Class A Charleston RiverDogs affiliate. As scheduled, he played three innings at third base and received two plate appearances in his first official game since undergoing surgery in January to repair a torn left hip labrum. Other than coming out of it in one piece, it wasn’t exactly a game for his scrapbook.
In the first inning, facing Rome Braves righty Williams Perez, Rodriguez erased a leadoff single by fellow rehabbing Yankee Eduardo Nunez by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play after being jammed with a pitch inside. In the live cut-in to his at-bat on ESPN, he didn't look to be running at anything close to full speed down the first base line, but under the circumstances, that's to be expected. In the third inning, he looked at strike three to end a five-pitch at-bat.
His time in the field wasn't much to write home about, either. The first batter of the game, Kyle Wren, bunted to him at third base, and while Rodriguez made a clean barehanded grab, Wren was safe at first. In the third inning, Jose Peraza bunted to third, and Rodriguez could do nothing but put the ball in his pocket.
After the third, Rodriguez left the game in favor of Francisco Rosario. He'll play one more game at Charleston before joining High-A Tampa, where he would have begun his stint had it not been raining there. Per major league rules, Rodriguez has 20 days to complete his rehab assignment without needing another trip to the disabled list, and without the benefit of a full spring training, the likelihood is that the 37-year-old third baseman will need most or all of that time. For more on the recent drama surrounding Rodriguez, see my summary from last week and my update from Monday.