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A-Rod makes spring debut at third base

Alex Rodriguez, coming off a year suspension, handles his only chance in the Yankees’ exhibition game vs. Washington.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ made his exhibition debut at third base, cleanly handling his only chance, and the New York Yankees beat the Washington Nationals yesterday in Tampa, Fla., 3-2.

Rodriguez, the designated hitter in two earlier games, hit a pop-fly double and struck out in five innings. He made a nice, backhanded grab on Tyler Moore's grounder and threw him out to end the third.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman say Chase Headley will be their starting third baseman. Rodriguez will compete primarily for at-bats at DH as he returns from a 1-year drug suspension. He is also going to get limited time at third and possibly first base.

"Game speed is the one thing you can't emulate," Rodriguez said. "Being away from the game, that's the hardest thing to adjust to. I'll give it a shot."

The three-time AL MVP, who turns 40 in July, has not played a full season since 2007 because of the suspension, operations on both hips and other injuries.

"We understand he's not 25 years old, but I haven't seen a difference from where he was a couple years ago," Girardi said.


* Ill-fated Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias sustained yet another shin injury yesterday when he was hit by a hard shot during batting practice before Detroit lost to a split squad of Houston Astros.

Iglesias was fielding grounders when he was a struck in the right shin by a ball off the bat of J.D. Martinez. X-rays showed a bruise, and he was listed as day-to-day.

The 25-year-old Iglesias batted .303 for Boston and the Tigers in 2013, but missed all of last season because of stress fractures in both shins. He left an exhibition game Friday after bruising his right shin on a slide.

* St. Louis righthander Lance Lynn left the Cardinals' spring training game against Miami with a left hip flexor strain. Lynn departed after the first three batters reached base in the second inning. He'll be reevaluated today to determine the extent of injury, the Cardinals said.

Lynn went 15-10 with a 2.74 ERA last season.