Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MLB Notes: A-Rod Singles in Return to Action

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

MLB Notes: A-Rod Singles in Return to Action

Article excerpt

A-Rod singles in return

Alex Rodriguez returned to the New York Yankees after an absence of more than 17 months, lining a single into short left field in his first at-bat and going 1 for 2 with a walk in a 3-1 spring-training loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday in Tampa, Fla.

Greeted by a 10-second mix of boos and cheers from the crowd of 9,673 as he stepped into the batter's box for his first game following a one-year drug suspension, Rodriguez was wearing the Yankees' white uniform with pinstripes for the team's exhibition home opener rather than the usual dark blue jersey used in exhibition games.

"Once you hit rock bottom, any time you hear a few cheers these days is a pleasant surprise," he said.

Rodriguez swung at the first four of 10 pitches he saw in three plate appearances. Batting second as New York's designated hitter, he swung past a pair of 91 mph pitches from Philadelphia's Kevin Slowey in the first inning.

"I felt like I was swinging under water," he said. "I was like, man, it's been a long time."

A's like switch-pitcher * What has become a routine act for Pat Venditte is an astonishing sight for those watching him.

The A's switch-pitcher introduced himself to the Cactus League on Tuesday in Mesa, Ariz., recording two outs against the Giants one with each arm as fans, and even teammates, ooed and aahed, reported.

"I didn't realize it was him when he started throwing, so it kind of tripped me out there for a second," said A's second baseman Ben Zobrist. "Obviously he does it well. It's not like he's weaker from one side than the other. Obviously he's able to throw all of his pitches and spot up from both sides. It's really fun to watch. It's an anomaly for sure."

Venditte, in camp on a minor-league deal following seven seasons in the Yankees organization, entered the game with two outs in the third inning to face the right-handed-hitting Justin Maxwell from the right side, and he promptly induced a groundout to end the frame. Venditte then transferred his glove to his other hand to begin the fourth and proceeded to strike out the left-handed Brandon Belt with his left arm. …

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