Rodriguez, who played his second rehab game for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Wednesday night, told reporters he felt "tentative'' running the bases after Tuesday's night game in which he went 1-for-3, and repeated the word in a phone conversation with manager Joe Girardi later Tuesday night.
"He said he felt good, but he's not running all out,'' Girardi said before Wednesday night's series finale between the Yankees and the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. "Our plans right now are to still bring him to Minnesota (on Thursday) if everything goes OK. We may not activate him. We may have him do some things for a couple of days and wait a couple of days to activate him but our plans are still for him to come tomorrow.''
Rodriguez went 1-for-2 with two walks and an eighth-inning RBI single against Triple-A Durham on Wednesday night in what should be his final minor league rehab appearance.
Girardi said Rodriguez would be examined by team trainer Gene Monahan upon arrival, after which a determination would be made on whether to add him to the roster in time for Thursday night's game. Rodriguez underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee on July 11 after experiencing pain in the knee for some time before.
However, Rodriguez doesn't believe he'll be playing.
"I'm not playing tomorrow," he said. "I think that's pretty clear. That's pretty much confirmed."
When asked about returning Friday, Rodriguez said: "I don't want to speculate, but in a day or two, I'll meet with the medical staff, (general manager Brian) Cashman and Girardi, we'll all get together and make a wise decision, but anything's possible."
Rodriguez last played in a game for the Yankees on July 7, and in his absence, the team has gone 23-11 and remained on pace with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race.
"My knee feels good," Rodriguez said before Wednesday night's game. "I'm looking to get around four at-bats tonight and turn it up a notch."
Rodriguez played eight innings at third on Wednesday. And for the second straight night, it was an adventure.
After making a first-inning error, Rodriguez cleanly handled his next two chances in the field. But he allowed a ground ball to scoot under his glove on the backhand side in the second.
Rodriguez did, however, handle a popup in the fifth, which drew mock cheers from the crowd. He snagged a hard liner in the seventh and cleanly fielded a bouncer in the eighth.
Mark Teixeira, with 32 home runs and 89 RBIs, and Robinson Cano, who is batting .306 with 21 homers and 85 RBIs, have more than filled the void at cleanup. Plus, the Yankees have gotten plenty of production out of Curtis Granderson, who leads the club with 33 home runs -- second in the league to Toronto's Jose Bautista -- a team-high 94 RBIs and a league-leading 109 runs scored.
Those three hitters afford the Yankees the luxury of taking their time with Rodriguez. At the time of his injury, Rodriguez was hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs.
"If you rush him, it could cost you a couple of weeks. You could wind up hurting something else,'' Girardi said. "That's why we want to take a look at him with our own eyes tomorrow and see how far he is away and see if he's ready. We might still activate him. But let's get through tonight and get him into Minnesota tomorrow and take a look at him."
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo was used in this report.