Alex Rodriguez took batting practice on Tuesday for the first time since he suffered a fractured left hand on July 24. The best-case scenario for his return would have him beginning a short minor league rehab assignment over the weekend then coming back after that.

“I see light at the end of the tunnel,” said Rodriguez, whose hand was fractured when it was struck by a pitch from Seattle’s Felix Hernandez. “My expectation is to come back and come back at full strength to help this team win.”

Brian Cashman said in a radio interview Tuesday that the slugging third baseman could go on a rehab assignment this weekend. The options for that will soon be limited because minor league teams will end their minor league seasons on Monday, although Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton will have postseason games.

“Ideally you get to maybe play a game or two,” Rodriguez said.Air Max 95 “That’s the ideal situation. I don’t know if that’s going to be possible.”

Said Joe Girardi: “We’ll probably get him a couple days, would be my guess.”

Rodriguez also ran the bases and took ground balls before the game against the Blue Jays.

He doesn’t feel exactly where he needs to be, but he has been able to keep his legs in shape, so he feels close. As far as swinging the bat, he can still feel something in his hand, but doesn’t consider it to be something that would slow him down.

“I think naturally you’re going to feel something,” Rodriguez said. “The most encouraging thing is the X-rays — the pictures look good — and the doctors have assured me that I have a green light.”

Rodriguez’s presence in the lineup would be welcome with first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is out for at least a week and probably more with a left calf injury. Teixeira had to come out of Monday’s game after suffering what an MRI showed was a Grade I strain.

The Yankees will try to reach Saturday, when rosters expand, without putting Teixeira on the DL so they can get him back as soon as he’s ready. Another injury could force them into a situation where they would need to make a move to add a player.

Teixeira said his condition had not improved overnight and that he is under doctor’s orders to do no baseball activities. But he is encouraged that he hasn’t been put on the 15-day disabled list.

“God forbid someone else goes down, then we’re playing two men short,” Teixeira said. “We’ve played a man short a few times this year and you can get through it, especially with some of the versatility that our guys have — a guy like (Nick Swisher) that can play multiple positions, a guy like (Jayson Nix) that can play multiple positions. That really helps a team out.

“Hopefully I won’t have to go on the DL because the rosters do expand in a few days.”

Rodriguez is hitting .276 with 15 home runs and 44 RBI. In the 11 games before he was hurt, he posted a .349/.391/.581 slash line.

“That was the most frustrating part. I think for the first time all year I had a pretty good run for 10 days, and I’ve been working hard on the same things that I had going on,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully I can just pick up where I left off.”

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