Report: A-Rod to rejoin Yanks Monday
"If he's ready to come back, and he's healthy, he'll be back Monday night," Levine told Nightengale. "We need Alex Rodriguez. We need a right-handed bat. We need a third baseman. He's the best third baseman we've got. And if he's hot, he can carry us."
Rodriguez, 37, has been playing rehab games with the team's Triple-A affiliate. He's expected to play Friday, Saturday and Sunday. His 20-day rehab limit ends Sunday.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman indicated that the timetable for Rodriguez's return has gone according to plan.
"We started the 20-day rehab and we felt he could complete the 20 days and be available to us in Texas," Cashman told ESPN.com. "So let's get through the weekend and see where he is at and see if he is major-league able."
Rodriguez is pleased with his progress and not particularly worried about his performance at the plate, MLB.com reported. He went 1-for-4 with a home run Thursday night and has gone 6-for-32 (.188) in 11 rehab games.
"I never really paid that much attention to rehab statistics until this year. To me, getting the barrel of the bat on the ball is much more important," Rodriguez told ESPN.com.
Rodriguez pointed out a significant milestone in his rehab — his ability to play seven innings at third base in four straight games, two with Class-A Advanced Tampa and two with Double-A Trenton.
"Playing those innings in four straight games is a step I needed to take in this," Rodriguez said.
While Rodriguez has not been on the field for the Yankees yet this season, he still has made plenty of headlines. Rodriguez was one of several players connected to the Biogenesis clinic, which has been accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to players.
Biogenesis operator Tony Bosch has been cooperative with Major League Baseball, and reports have indicated that the league will seek lengthy suspensions of players connected to the clinic. However, MLB Players Association head Michael Weiner has said any suspensions leveled as a result of the Biogenesis investigation likely will not take effect until after the 2013 season.
Rodriguez was asked about those comments, but deferred.
"Good question, but you will have to ask Michael, who knows a lot more about this than me," Rodriguez said. "I can't comment."