NYY@BOS: A-Rod hammers a solo homer to center field

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez has a new strategy for his team of representatives at odds with the Yankees and Major League Baseball: "Shut it down."

After a whirlwind weekend in Boston where the embattled third baseman and his attorney, Joe Tacopina, accused the Yankees of mishandling his medical treatment during the 2012 postseason and began the process of filing a grievance against them, Rodriguez said he wants to put the focus back on the field.

"That's behind us now, and I've shut everything down," Rodriguez said before Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays. "I think the best thing to do, for all of us, is to focus on the game. We're in the middle of a pennant race, so I want to put the focus back on baseball."

Rodriguez said he still wants his team of representatives to continue working on everything that they have been doing, including the appeal of his 211-game suspension for his connection to Biogenesis. He just doesn't want them to do it publicly anymore.

"Publicly, I want everything to be 100 percent about baseball," Rodriguez said. "We're very focused on making the postseason, and that's what I want all our guys to focus on."

The grievance is another item in a series of controversies surrounding Rodriguez since Major League Baseball officially handed down his suspension on Aug. 3. On Sunday, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he's "not comfortable talking to Alex on this stuff, because I feel we're in a litigious environment."

Rodriguez said he doesn't believe the off-the-field issues will be a distraction for the team.

"Not with this new approach we have right now. I think the focus is to be back on the field," Rodriguez said. "There's so many great stories going on in baseball and for us, we really want to focus on playing good baseball and, 100 percent, want all the questions to be about baseball. If there's any questions in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment."

Rodriguez was not in Wednesday's lineup against the Blue Jays, but said he is ready to pinch-hit at any moment. He entered the night batting .296 with two home runs and six RBIs in 14 games this season.

"I decided it was best today," manager Joe Girardi said. "We're in a stretch of nine days in a row, and with two games that he played yesterday, I just thought I'm going to give him one of them off."

Despite not being in the lineup, Rodriguez called Wednesday's game the team's first playoff game. The Yankees entered 6 1/2 games back in the American League East race and five games back in the Wild Card race, and Rodriguez said he wants the Yankees to focus only on making the postseason.

"Every game is important," Rodriguez said. "Playoffs is what we're thinking about, and that's the reason why I shut everything down."

Jeter to begin rehab stint Thursday

TB@NYY: Jeter homers in first at-bat, goes 2-for-4

NEW YORK -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is scheduled to begin his latest Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Thursday at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, taking the field at shortstop in a 7:05 p.m. ET game against Pawtucket.

Jeter is recovering from a Grade 1 strain of his right calf. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Jeter's workout on Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., included running the bases, and that he was cleared to begin his rehab.

Girardi said that he expects Jeter to play at least two games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It is possible that Jeter, who has played in just five Major League games this season, could to rejoin the Yankees on Saturday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

"As I've said, we'll just go day by day and see how he responds each day," Girardi said. "The plan, I think, is for him to play five innings in the field tomorrow."

Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 3, marking his third stint on the DL this season.

The 39-year-old has also been sidelined by a small fracture in his left ankle and a right quadriceps strain this season, missing 121 team games after combining to miss just 82 team games over his five prior career DL trips.

Bombers bits

• Outfielder Brett Gardner served as the designated hitter on Wednesday because he played center field in both games of the doubleheader on Tuesday, Girardi said.

• Girardi said the team has been watching Eduardo Nunez closely to make sure his right hamstring isn't bothering him. The shortstop suffered the injury Sunday in Boston, but played in Game 2 against the Blue Jays on Tuesday and was in the starting lineup on Wednesday.