Benched from the starting lineup once again as his finale approaches, Alex Rodriguez pinch hit and flied out in the seventh inning of the New York Yankees’ game at Boston on Wednesday night
Rodriguez has just one start and eight at-bats in 17 games since July 22 as New York traded veterans and turned toward a youth movement.
Chants of ‘We Want A-Rod”! echoed around the park at the start of the seventh. He was greeted by loud boos when he stepped out of the dugout to face Matt Barnes. They were louder when he was announced and again when he trotted back to the dugout after his flyout to right field, which dropped his batting average to .203 and extended his slump to 4 for 37 (.108).
Rodriguez had not appeared in a game since Aug. 2.
“My job description does not entail a farewell tour,” manager Joe Girardi said during a pregame media session that at times was a bit testy. “My job description is to try to win every game and to try to put everyone in the best possible position to do that, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
At the beginning of his session with the media, Girardi was asked if Rodriguez would still be in the starting lineup Thursday after Boston scratched knuckleballer Steven Wright.
“Yes, he will,” Girardi said.
New York said Sunday that Rodriguez, a 41-year-old designated hitter with 696 home runs, will be released following Friday’s homestand opener against Tampa Bay.
Girardi said he “made a mistake” by saying on Sunday that if Rodriguez wanted to play in all remaining games before his release that he would try to get him in the games.
“I talked to him again on Tuesday about it and said: This is what my plans were,’ ” Girardi explained. “I knew he didn’t like it. But, again, I have a responsibility to the game of baseball. No one individual is ever bigger than this game. No one. No one. No one.
“And I’m not going to forget about it – as much as we’ve been through together. It’s hard. Believe me, it’s really hard.”
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Boston on Thursday because the Wright jammed his right shoulder while diving into a base as pinch runner in an interleague game against the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.
“It’s about winning the games,” Girardi said when asked if he liked the matchup. “That’s what it’s always about here. It'll continue to be that way.”
Girardi then went on to answer about 12 minutes of questions why A-Rod wasn’t starting the first two games of the series.
“You could say what you want, there’s a lot of relationships involved here and it bothers me sometimes because people say one thing to do and because it becomes controversial they say another and it’s difficult,” Girardi said. “When we look at this decision, we’re basing it on a substantial amount of at-bats - and it’s not what we want. I think our hope is he’d hit 30 home runs again, but that hasn’t been the case this year.”
Girardi said he understands some may consider him a ‘bad guy' for not playing A-Rod.
“It is what it is,” he said. “It’s part of the job, I guess.”
Girardi explained further that Boston was in the AL East race and Tampa Bay was out of it, justifying his decision to start Rodriguez on Friday. “My job is to put out what I feel is the best lineup, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Girardi said. “It’s been difficult.”