A-Rod on field for 1st time since hip surgery

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TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - Alex Rodriguez is back on the field for the first time since surgery on his left hip almost four months ago.

He joined a group of injured New York Yankees starters Monday at the team’s minor league complex. The 37-year-old third baseman ran, played catch and hit off a tee.

Rodriguez said it’s “like being 8 years old again when I first grabbed a bat.” He added it’s “pretty exciting” and he’s “really looking forward to getting back.”

Rodriguez had surgery Jan. 16 and could return to the Yankees after the All-Star break. A surgeon repaired a torn labrum and impingement in the operation in New York.

“It feels good to be back out in uniform,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been a rough stretch with the rehab, obviously. It’s small bites at a time.”

Rodriguez is currently taking part in a 30-day rehab schedule setup by his doctors and team officials.

“We’re taking it four weeks at a time,” Rodriguez said. “Today is one of 30.”

The upbeat A-Rod signed autographs and took photos with around 40 fans waiting for him outside the player’s parking lot. Fans driving by stopped their car near the complex driveway and jumped out to have photos taken.

“I have a lot of unfinished business,” said Rodriguez, who struggled offensively late last season. “I’m really looking forward to getting back on the field close to 100 percent and being who I am.”

Outfielder Curtis Granderson (broken right forearm), first baseman Mark Teixeira (right wrist), corner infielder Kevin Youkilis (lumbar spine sprain), and catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken hand) are also rehabbing injuries in Florida.

“It’s great seeing him,” Teixeira said. “He’s just happy to be back, doing some baseball activities. He’s got a big smile on his face right now, which is great.”

Shortstop Derek Jeter is also on the disabled list with a broken ankle, and is not expected back until after the All-Star break.

“We always talk about injuries are a part of the game, but this is crazy” Rodriguez said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. But I’ve got to tell you, the way those guys are playing up there, the job the front office has done putting these guys together at the last minute, hats off to everyone.”

The Miami New Times reported this year that Rodriguez bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances in recent years from Biogenesis of America LLC, a now-closed clinic in Coral Cables, near the three-time AL MVP’s offseason home.

Rodriguez has denied the allegations.

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