The New York Yankees have cleared third baseman Alex Rodriguez to begin a rehab assignment that could have the three- time American League MVP back in the team's lineup shortly after the All-Star break.
The Yankees announced Monday that Rodriguez, who has yet to play this season while recovering from surgery performed in January to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, will join the organization's Single-A affiliate in Charleston, SC and play a minimum of three innings at third base in Tuesday's game against Rome.
The announcement comes after a slew of conflicting reports regarding Rodriguez's progress from the surgery and his readiness to return to live action. The veteran slugger had tweeted last week that he had received the green light to play in rehab games from team doctors, a statement that drew an angry and expletive-filled response from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
Rodriguez has been involved in yet another controversy during his time away, with the 37-year-old headlining a list of MLB players linked to Biogenesis of America, a Miami-based anti-aging clinic suspected of supplying performance- enhancing substances.
A healthy return from Rodriguez would still provide a needed boost to an injury-riddled Yankee lineup that is tied for 12th in the AL in runs scored and has been without several other key members -- including Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis -- for all or most of this season.
Yankees third basemen have combined to hit just .231 with four homers and 23 RBI thus far in 2013.