A-Rod 4-for-13 in simulated at-bats

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had four hits in 13 simulated at-bats on Sunday morning in Florida.

Two of Rodriguez's four hits were doubles. He also struck out three times.

Rodriguez played three simulated innings on defense, working on myriad different fielding scenarios. He ran the bases during his simulated at-bats as well.

Rodriguez has been out since July 8 with a torn meniscus in his right knee. He underwent surgery to fix the tear on July 11, and has missed the last 32 games while on the disabled list.

Rodriguez served as the designated hitter for Class A Tampa on Friday and Saturday night, and combined to go 2-for-6 at the plate with a home run and a double.

"A more natural progression for me," Rodriguez said. "We've been doing a lot of work down here. I just thought another day at DH was wise."

According to the Associated Press, Rodriguez ran "tentatively" around the bases on Friday, but looked as if he was running "somewhat better" on Saturday.

He was unable to play for Tampa again on Sunday because the Gulf Coast League doesn't play on Sundays.

"The timetable is still the same," manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees were rained out of Sunday afternoon's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. "He'll return sometime in Minnesota. I can't tell you Thursday (with certainty), but I expect to see him sometime in Minnesota."

Rodriguez is expected to play a pair of games at third base with Triple-A Scranton on Tuesday and Wednesday, and assuming his knee responds well and he doesn't have any setbacks, he could rejoin the Yankees as early as Thursday.

On Sunday, Rodriguez faced three Yankees minor league pitchers broken down into three segments.

Before his first at-bat, Rodriguez joked with injured pitcher Mark Prior that "you have to boo ... Minnesota boos."

After the first and second hitting sessions, Rodriguez took part in extensive defensive drills.

"A good day," he said.

"We've been playing well," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "A lot of guys have stepped up and swung the bats well, but adding Al back, he's going to help out any team like I was saying earlier. Anytime anyone gets hurt you can't sit around and say, 'Wait till he comes back.' You have to continue to play, and that's what we've been able to do. Everyone is looking forward to him coming back."

The Yankees have gone 21-11 in Rodriguez's absence.

"We've done a good job (without him), and I think that shows the depth of our club," Girardi said. "(Eduardo) Nuñez and (Eric Chavez) have swung the bat well in Alex's absence."

At the time of his injury, Rodriguez was batting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs in 80 games.

Girardi has said the Yankees are going to work Rodriguez back into the field slowly, likely giving him two to three "DH days" a week before he resumes playing third base on essentially an every-day basis.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.