Alex Rodriguez to start at third base

— -- TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez will make his return to third base Sunday afternoon when the New York Yankees face the Washington Nationals.

Rodriguez, who is coming back from a yearlong suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, served as a designated hitter in his first two games this spring. He singled in his first at-bat Wednesday.

The Yankees re-signed third baseman Chase Headley to a four-year, $52 million contract earlier this winter to start at the position, creating an odd juxtaposition.

New York also plans to try Rodriguez at first base -- a position he has never played before. Mostly, if Rodriguez remains on the active roster, he could be a DH, perhaps predominately against left-handed pitching.

Rodriguez is owed $61 million over the next three years. The Yankees have yet to show any inclination to release the three-time MVP, instead taking a wait-and-see approach as they evaluate what he has left. General manager Brian Cashman repeatedly has said the Yankees are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, has not played a full season since 2007 because of the suspension, operations on both hips and other injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.