The third baseman might be back on the field when the Yankees try to add to their lead in the AL East with another home victory over Boston on Sunday night.
Rodriguez was hit in the left leg by a hard ground ball off the bat of Lance Berkman(notes) during batting practice Saturday. The three-time AL MVP limped around before falling to the ground with his hands on his face, but X-rays were negative.
“I never saw it,” Rodriguez said. “It’d never happened to me before.”
“Do I expect him to play (Sunday)? I have no idea,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He was in a substantial amount of pain.”
The Yankees hope that pain subsides, considering Rodriguez is among baseball’s leaders with 88 RBIs and hitting .324 with two homers and nine RBIs against the Red Sox (63-48) this season. He had an RBI single in Friday’s 6-3 loss in the opener of this four-game series.
New York leads the East by 1 1/2 games over Tampa Bay, while Boston sits six back.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 9.40 ERA in six starts against Boston since joining New York before last season. He was hit hard in his most recent matchup, surrendering nine runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-3 loss in Boston on May 9.
Burnett will be trying to rebound from one of his worst performances of the season in Monday’s 8-6 loss to Toronto. He was victimized by a big inning in the fifth, giving up seven of the eight runs he allowed before being pulled with two outs. He had won his previous two starts by throwing 11 1-3 scoreless innings.
“He lost the sink on his fastball, got flat, and lost his command. He didn’t correct it,” Girardi said. “You’re surprised when he gives up a big inning like that.”
The right-hander appears to be putting a strained lower back behind him, going 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts since spending over two months on the disabled list.
Beckett allowed one run, three hits and struck out eight in eight innings— his longest outing of the season—in a 3-1 win over Cleveland on Tuesday.
“I’m feeling good,” Beckett told the Red Sox’s official website. “I think up until (Tuesday), it was a build-up thing. They’ve allowed me to build up.
“I’m still making adjustments and I think the adjustments come with time. Right now, everything is happening good.”
Beckett, however, may be in for his toughest test since returning.
He’s 0-2 with a 9.93 ERA while serving up nine homers in 22 2-3 innings over his last four starts against the Yankees. He lasted 4 2-3 innings May 18, allowing five runs and walking three in a 7-6 win at Yankee Stadium before being placed on the DL the next day.