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A-Rod hitless, a day after declining Triple-A trip

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MARK DIDTLER, Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez struck out twice and went hitless Saturday in his latest minor league game, a day after declining to join the New York Yankees' Triple-A team.

Rodriguez was 0 for 3 for Class A Tampa, dropping to 2 for 18 with one RBI and five strikeouts during his injury rehabilitation assignment.

Rodriguez met Friday in the Tampa with Major League Baseball officials investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.

With rain in the area, the Yankees wanted Rodriguez to travel to Buffalo, where Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is playing this weekend, a person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press.

Rodriguez told the Yankees he was too worn down to go, the person told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

The New York Post first reported the situation.

Rodriguez had been scheduled to play third base in games Thursday and Friday for Tampa, but both were rained out. He wasn't seen by reporters at the ballpark on Friday.

"It was rained out," Rodriguez said. "Whatever conversations I have with my coaches and my trainers, I will keep that private. More importantly, today we played a full game."

As for any plans that he was supposed to join the Triple-A team this weekend, "this is news to me," he said.

"The plan, like we've talked all week, I think has been pretty consistent. We've talked about Sunday heading north," he said.

Rodriguez is likely to join another team — which could be Double-A Trenton — after playing Sunday in a Class A Florida State League game.

"I'm not sure yet," Rodriguez said of his next playing location. "I don't want to speculate on that, but I'm definitely going north."

One day after meeting with MLB officials, Rodriguez played seven innings in the field. He also was hit in the lower back by a pitch.

Rodriguez has played seven games for Tampa and Charleston, both Class A clubs. His rehab assignment can extend through July 21.

"I thought today was probably the happiest I've been with the way my body reacted," Rodriguez said. "I thought the way I swung the bat, felt like I had more power behind my swings. Those are the type of things I'm looking for."

MLB investigators are looking into the closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Rodriguez has said he used PEDs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has denied using them since. He was linked to Biogenesis in a report in January by Miami New Times.

Rodriguez did not discuss the Biogenesis situation. He has said that he has been told not to talk about the matter.

Both of Rodriguez's strikeouts Saturday came on breaking balls. Bradenton right-hander Robby Rowland, the son of former major leaguer Rich Rowland, hit Rodriguez with a fifth-inning pitch.

Rodriguez was thrown out in the first on a grounder that went deep into the deep between short and third.

"I'm happy about my running to first and was probably the best I ran in my whole rehab," Rodriguez said. "That's definitely a good step and a good process."

Rodriguez struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch leading off the third and went down swinging in the sixth. He charged a ball on the infield grass in the first, but Stetson Allie beat his throw for an infield single.

"The groundball felt good coming in on a tough play," Rodriguez said. "Overall I thought it was a very positive day. Another good day in the process."

In the fifth, Rodriguez wasn't able to get to a grounder hit to his left, but threw out a runner after fielding a seventh-inning grounder.

Rodriguez arrived at Steinbrenner Field around 3 hours, 15 minutes before Saturday's 5 p.m. start time. He worked out on a back field for 30 minutes, taking 69 swings over eight rounds of batting practice and fielding 26 grounders.

___

AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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