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Alex Rodriguez back in Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon

New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 21: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees takes batting practice before the game against the Minnesota Twins on August 21, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Alex Rodriguez is in the line up at third. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Alex Rodriguez is back in the Yankees’ starting lineup this afternoon against the Blue Jays, batting fifth and playing third base.

Rodriguez hasn’t played since September 9 due to a Grade 1 sprain of his left thumb. The injury is expected to linger for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, but the veteran third baseman is confident that a new grip on the bat will take pressure off the thumb.

Rodriguez, 36, is batting .284/.367/.475 with 15 homers, 56 RBI and an .842 OPS over 390 plate appearances this season. He is 7-for-36 (.194) since returning from knee surgery last month.