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A-Rod hits 1st HR of comeback

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez may have 654 career home runs, but the last one he slammed was in September 2013. So prior to hitting the first spring training home run of his comeback, a solo shot against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, he was not filled with confidence.

"You always have doubt," Rodriguez said. "I haven't played in a long time."

Rodriguez, 39, slammed a 3-1, 89 mph fastball off of righty Brandon Workman in the fourth inning of the New York Yankees' exhibition game against the Red Sox at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"Some of the guys were saying it looked like I didn't even swing," Rodriguez said. "That's always a good sign for me. It looked like a little pepper swing and the ball jumped pretty good."

Rodriguez, who missed all of last season because of his suspension for PED use, is now 5-for-11 (.455) with the homer and a double thus far. He played third base for the second time this spring, but he's being looked at as mainly a DH.

"It is definitely a building block," Rodriguez said.

The Yankees and Rodriguez have tried to play down any expectations for him. Manager Joe Girardi didn't think hitting the home run this early in the spring -- it was the team's eighth game -- held any special significance.

"For me, no, for you [the media], probably," Girardi said. "When is he going to hit a home run? For me, I look more at the at-bats and how hard he is hitting the ball as opposed if he hits a home run."

Chase Headley, barring injury, will be Girardi's starter at third. Rodriguez might try first base during the spring, but hasn't played the position during a game yet.

His teammates have accepted Rodriguez back. A-Rod said that after the home run, Brett Gardner teased him by saying it took him long enough.

"Gardner is always messing around," Rodriguez said. "Guys gave me some good laughs."

Reggie Jackson, who sits outside the dugout with Girardi during games, doffed his hat when A-Rod returned to the bench.

Workman looked on and saw the same A-Rod of old.

"I didn't see anything wrong with him there," Workman said.