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Posted: Saturday June 16, 2012 3:39PM ; Updated: Saturday June 16, 2012 3:39PM

A-Rod gets rare day off vs. Nationals

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- When Alex Rodriguez arrived at Nationals Park on Saturday morning, he knew his name wasn't in the lineup.

According to manager Joe Girardi, it was "just a day off" for the New York Yankees' third baseman. Nothing more.

A-Rod had played in all but one of the Yankees' previous games this season, and for the first time in several years, he's been healthy.

"I'm giddy when I get up in the morning. I'm giddy. It's nice to wake up and make it about baseball," Rodriguez said before the game against the Washington Nationals.

Rodriguez, who turns 37 next month, has been on the disabled list each year since 2008. Not so this year. Not yet, anyway.

"The good news is my body feels great. I feel better and better," Rodriguez said. "I feel good, healthy, strong. I'm moving around good."

Rodriguez began the day batting .276 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs, needing one RBI to pass Jimmie Foxx for sixth place on the career list. On Tuesday in Atlanta, he hit his 23rd grand slam, tying Lou Gehrig for most in baseball history.

Girardi said that A-Rod would be available to pinch hit.

"Hopefully, I don't need him," Girardi said

On Friday, Girardi didn't start Robinson Cano, but used the second baseman as a pinch hitter. Without the designated hitter, it gives the manager a chance to rest his veteran regulars.

"One of the big things is trying to keep him and (shortstop Derek Jeter) healthy," Girardi said. "We've been able to DH him a lot more than we thought, and it's probably helped him on the field."

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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