(Reuters) - Alex Rodriguez was back on the field on Monday for the first time since he had surgery on his left hip in January, joining several other injured New York Yankees players at their minor league complex in Tampa, Florida.
The 14-time All-Star ran, played catch and hit off a tee before signing autographs for around 40 fans, though he was not prepared to set a timetable for his major league return.
"I'm working 24/7 to get back on the field," Rodriguez told reporters after beginning a 30-day rehabilitation schedule put together by his doctors and team officials. "There's no surprise - the way the season ended last year was very embarrassing.
"It was very tough on me, and obviously, (for) our team, it was devastating, the sweep against Detroit. I have a lot of unfinished business. I'm looking forward to getting back and helping my team win," added Rodriguez who went 3-for-25 with no extra-base hits last postseason.
Asked if he was likely to return to the Yankees this season, the 37-year-old Rodriguez replied: "I really hope so. That's as specific as I'll get."
The injured third baseman linked up with several other banged-up Yankees players in Tampa, including Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis and Francisco Cervelli.
"We always talk about it, injuries are part of the game, but God dang, this is crazy," Rodriguez said of the large group of his injured team mates. "I've never seen anything like it. It's remarkable."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)