June 18, 2013
Unhappy A-Rod benched again by Yankees
New York slugger Alex Rodríguez questioned the logic of leaving him out of the lineup for Wednesday's do-or-die playoff game against the Detroit Tigers that was eventually rained out.
Rodríguez and fellow slumping home run hitter Curtis Granderson were the regulars removed from the batting order in manager Joe Girardi's latest attempt to shuffle a lineup that has struggled mightily to score runs.
"I'm not doing somersaults, I'm not happy about it," Rodríguez told reporters on Detroit's Comerica Park field during warm-ups before the game was called off and rescheduled for Thursday. "I feel I could help the team win.
"The bottom line is anytime I'm in any lineup I think that lineup is better and has a better chance to win. I don't care if it's an All-Star game. I think I can bring an impact. I think at any point I'm ready to break though.
"Anytime I'm in the box, the game can change and everyone knows it."
Trailing 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Yankees need to win Game Four, rescheduled for Thursday, to stay alive in the American League Championship.
"This is not something that is easy to do," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters before the game.
"I think as a manager and as a team, at this time you have got to think about today, and you think about today only."
The Yankees posted the best record of any team in the American League during the regular season but their power-hitting lineup has struggled to score runs during the playoffs, prompting Girardi's reshuffle.
Rodríguez, Major League Baseball's highest-paid player with earnings this season of US$29 million, stands fifth on the all-time home run list with 647 but has looked lost since returning after breaking his hand.
"He has struggled against right-handers all season," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
"It's obviously gotten worse here in the postseason with the strikeouts, so we're just making an adjustment and hoping it gives us a better shot."
Rodríguez, who has been pinch-hit for and benched previously in the playoffs, has gone 3-for-23 in the postseason and was to be replaced at third base by Eric Chávez, who has gone 0-for-14.
"Alex is going to wait for (his) opportunity. Right now it looks like in theory we'll do that against left handed pitching," Cashman said.
The Tigers were set to start hard-throwing righthander Max Scherzer against New York's CC Sabathia.
"That doesn't mean that he's done, that he's finished, that he is not capable. He is still a big threat, but for whatever reason right now we are adjusting to what we are seeing."
Granderson, who was second in the league with 43 home runs, has gone 3-for-29 in the postseason. The center-fielder was to be replaced by Brett Gardner, who went down with an elbow injury in April and was hitless in his return to the lineup on Tuesday.