Yankees’ A-Rod cleared to play

Now it’s official: The beleaguered Alex Rodriguez is set to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

The New York Yankees announced Monday that Rodriguez – who has yet to play this season after undergoing left hip surgery – will report Tuesday to the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class-A South Atlantic League.

Rodriguez said he felt fine and was eager to get going.

”Awesome,” he said Monday at the Yankees’ spring training complex. ”I’m really excited.”

Rodriguez said he didn’t have a timetable for rejoining the Yankees.

Rodriguez sparked controversy last week, when he tweeted that Dr. Bryan Kelly – who performed his surgery but isn’t the Yankees’ team physician – had cleared him to play games again. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responded by telling ESPN New York that A-Rod should “shut the [expletive] up.”

Now, no problems.

”It’s all been very positive. We’re all looking in the same direction … get back to New York as soon as possible and tomorrow is the first big step,” Rodriguez said. ”We’ve talked to all our doctors. Everyone has approved it.”

”It will be the first game that I play in, in maybe over eight months. It’s been a long time. It’s going to be great to suit up again. It gets me one step closer to helping my team win in New York,” he said.

Rodriguez’s near- and long-term status with the Yankees remains in doubt, as his name has surfaced in reports about Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis scandal. It remains possible that MLB could suspend Rodriguez this year for violating the sport’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report