DUNEDIN, Florida — Alex Rodriguez heard it from both sides Saturday.
"I thought the fans were great. The fans are the best," Rodriguez said. "To me, one of the nicest things about being back in camp has been how great the fans have been allowing me back into the game and how welcome they've made me feel."
Rodriguez, returning from a season-long drug suspension, started at third base. The sellout crowd of 5,510 perked up when he walked to the batter's box in the second inning, and he struck out on three pitches.
The three-time AL MVP lined a 93 mph fastball from starter Daniel Norris off the right-field wall for a single the next time up. He later flied out and finished 1 for 3.
With Toronto runners on first and seconds and two outs in the fifth, Rodriguez fielded a grounder and tried to make a tag, but missed. One batter later, he corralled another grounder and stepped on the bag to get out of the inning.
"I would say I'm moving as good as you're going to see me move," Rodriguez said. "The days of speed are behind me."
After the game, Rodriguez spent a few minutes signing autographs for fans.
"The feedback has been like never before in my career. ... For the most part, they've made me feel very welcome which I'm grateful for," he said.
Caleb Gindl singled home Steve Tolleson in the sixth.
DEREK'S NOT HERE, MAN
During Rodriguez's first at-bat, a group of fans near the Yankees dugout jokingly chanted the name of longtime New York captain Derek Jeter, who retired after last season.
"I actually liked that," Rodriguez said with a smile. "It made me miss my buddy. I said, 'Where is he right now? He's got to be on the beach somewhere.' I actually thought that in the box."
Yankees: Esmil Rogers yielded four hits and fanned three in three innings. The former Toronto righty has not allowed a run in four appearances this spring.
"I think everything is great right now," Rogers said. "I've got good command with it all and I can throw any pitch, any time that I want."
Blue Jays: Norris allowed three hits, walked one and struck out four in 3 1-3 innings. The left-hander is in the mix for a spot in the starting rotation following the season-ending knee injury to Marcus Stroman on Tuesday.
Blue Jays: DH Dayan Viciedo (foot infection) went 2 for 4 with a double. ... LHP Brett Cecil (rotator cuff inflammation) threw 10 pitches off a mound Saturday. ... Manager John Gibbons said 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion (back inflammation) is still "probably four or five days" away from returning to the lineup. ... C Dioner Navarro (knee) is penciled in to play DH on Sunday in a split-squad game.
Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi gets the start against the Phillies in Tampa. The right-hander allowed three hits and fanned five in three scoreless innings of relief against the Rays on Monday.
Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey looks to bounce back after a shaky outing in a split-squad game against the Canadian junior national team on Sunday. The 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner allowed a pair of solo home runs in four innings of work in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Twins.
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