New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday for the second straight game because of a sore left side.

Rodriguez said he expects to return Wednesday.

"Maybe if it was September, in the middle of a pennant race, perhaps I could have strapped it on today," Rodriguez said. "But considering where we are in the schedule, why not take that extra day?"

Eric Chavez started at third base against Toronto, with second baseman Robinson Cano taking over in the cleanup spot in the batting order.

Rodriguez has not played since leaving in the seventh inning of Saturday's victory over Texas. He is batting .385 with four homers and nine RBIs, and he leads the AL in on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.821).

Rodriguez is "very encouraged with the way I woke up today" but said he still has pain in "one tiny spot about the size of a quarter."

He took 40 to 50 swings in the batting cage before the game and also fielded grounders. Manager Joe Girardi did not rule out using Rodriguez as a pinch hitter.

"He said he feels good but a lot of times in these things you kind of want to test it before you throw him right back in there," Girardi said.