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A-Rod makes first start of season at 3B for Yankees

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BALTIMORE – Alex Rodriguez is back at the hot corner.

Fresh off Saturday’s disastrous turn at first base, A-Rod was in the lineup for Monday night’s series-opener against the Orioles at his old familiar spot: third base.

“I expect him to play the position like he knows how,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously the 19-inning game has taken a toll on a few of our players, and we’re just trying to get their legs to bounce back a little bit. I thought I’d give (Chase) Headley a day off today. He hasn’t had a day, and he could use it.”

Headley played all 19 innings Friday night, then played all of Saturday’s game and eight innings of Sunday night’s win over the Red Sox. Rodriguez played 11 innings Friday night, then started at first base on Saturday and was the DH Sunday.

A-Rod saw some action at third base during spring training, showing the ability to make the routine plays. His range isn’t close to what it was before his hip surgeries, but the Yankees aren’t looking for him to be spectacular while filling in for Headley.

“Catch the balls that are hit to you and get the outs for us,” Girardi said. “He’s going to be able to go a little to his left and a little to his right, but he’s got great hands and he knows how to play the position, so use that to your ability.”

A-Rod has played all seven games this season, but Girardi plans to give him a night off either Tuesday or Wednesday.

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