A-Rod returns to Yankees lineup for ALCS opener, batting sixth

NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees’ lineup for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, one day after the third baseman was benched for the decisive ALDS Game 5 against the Orioles.

Rodriguez will bat sixth and play third base in New York’s 8:07 p.m. ET contest against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.

“This is a guy that we really need to get going,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “This is a guy that, in 2009, you think about what he did throughout the playoffs, I just believe in my heart that he’s ready to go. I believe he’s going to contribute. We’re going to put him back in there.”

Rodriguez is batting .125 (2-for-16) in four postseason games this year, including going hitless with nine strikeouts in 12 at-bats against right-handed pitching. Girardi pinch-hit for Rodriguez in both Games 3 and 4 before sitting him completely in Game 5.

The Tigers figure to have nothing but right-handed starters in the ALCS, beginning with Doug Fister in Game 1, but Girardi said that he does not expect that to be a problem.

“I don’t think so. I expect him to do well; I do,” Girardi said. “He’s back in there and we need him to play well, just like all our other guys.”

Before Friday’s Game 5, Rodriguez said that he was “not happy” and “disappointed” by Girardi’s decision, but did not blame the manager, saying he needed to “look in the mirror.”

“I wanted to be in there in the worst way,” Rodriguez said. “But I keep telling you guys, this is not a story about one person, this is about a team.”

Girardi had one opportunity to insert Rodriguez as a pinch-hitter in Game 5, as manager Buck Showalter dared him to pull the trigger by inserting left-hander Troy Patton in the sixth inning. Girardi declined, sticking with Raul Ibanez, who struck out.

While Rodriguez received the nod in Game 1, Girardi said that he believes “it’s possible” that Chavez could re-appear at third base later in the series.

Chavez is hitless in eight postseason at-bats thus far but hit .298 over 245 at-bats against right-handed pitching this season and pummeled the Tigers in nine games, batting .516 (16-for-31) with two homers and five RBIs.

“I’ve talked about this at length, that I make my lineup every morning in my head when I watch the tapes and I watch the films and the at-bats against guys,” Girardi said. “As far as worrying about tomorrow’s [Game 2] lineup, I’m not worried about tomorrow’s lineup. Let’s just be productive today.”

2 Comments

Totally agree with you entire accessment robert G. Short term putting Aroid in the lineup is IFFY. It’s the LONG TERM situation that bothers me. If Bryan is correct than I have news for Hank S. that move is going to cost you a ton of $$$$$ because #13 is a declining player. Unlike Jeter Aroid does NOT do the extra fundamental things to extend his playing career, as far as I am concerned. Eventually this team has to reach a point that enough is enough with this guy. That’s where Hank S. decision is going to bite him in his ARSE.

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I’m glad Joe has such faith in this guy ARod. He sure is a lot more confident that he’s going to contribute at the plate than I am. Does he know something that we don’t? I hope so. Because if he keeps whiffing and grounding out then they can’t afford to keep giving him chance after chance. Definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. How many more chances to we give ARod to demonstrate that he hasn’t lost it, that he can still hit in the clutch, that he has power? Certainly 6th in the batting order is better than 3rd or 4th but if he doesn’t hit then he shouldn’t be in 6th either and leave Nix and Chavez and Ibanez on the bench. Long term something has to be done if he doesn’\t get this turned around. 5 more yearsof this? It will drag the team down if he continues to be an issue. It will spoil the chemistry and spirit of the team. Bryan tells me Hank insisted on the 10 year contract and not Cashman. Shame on Hank. He should know better but is Hank a businesssman or a baseball man? How can anyone think that a guy can keep producing regularly at a high level at 40 or 42. And if he can’t hit you can’t even use him as the DH. Anyway, onward and upward hopefully. Need to get to the Tigers early. I feel confident with Andy on the mound. Too bad the league didn’t give the Yankees at least a day to catch their breath between series. Here we go. Do we have it to take the Tigers too? We’ve got to get more clutch hitting and hitting with RISP which we haven’t all year.

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