Alex Rodriguez expected back Sunday

NEW YORK --- While the New York Yankees fully expect Alex Rodriguez to return from the disabled list on Sunday, he has yet to take batting practice to test his strained left calf.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez played catch, hit off a tee, rode a stationary bike and lifted weights as he worked toward returning on Sunday. The Yankees have been confident that Rodriguez would be ready to come off the DL when he is eligible because they erred on the side of caution when they put him on the list in the first place.

In Rodriguez's absence, Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez have played third, while Marcus Thames has picked up the slack offensively. Thames, who was the DH again on Tuesday night, had hit six homers in the previous six games.

"He's swung the bat really well for us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Meanwhile, Lance Berkman could be ready to come off the DL on Wednesday as his sprained right ankle is doing better. The Yankees also will have September call-ups on Wednesday to deepen their roster. Girardi said they hadn't decided whom they would call up yet.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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