On April 16, Alex Rodriguez was hitting .385/.500/.821, the kind of red-hot start that recalled those MVP years of not so long ago. It was a 12-game sample size, but it was impressive, and for the Yankees, it was promising.
Then Rodriguez was shutdown because of an oblique strain, and he hasn’t been the same since.
“It’s definitely not an excuse,” Rodriguez said after tonight’s loss. “I got off to a great start and haven’t been swinging the bat really well the last couple of weeks. It’s time to get back in the saddle and help the team win.”
Since the injury, Rodriguez is hitting .149 with three extra-base hits, two of them coming in his second game back. He has one RBI in his past nine games. Rodriguez said he feels healthy, and Joe Girardi said the Yankees believe he’s healthy, but there’s a “disconnect” in his swing.
“Kind of a two-parted swing, upper-body and lower-body disconnect a little bit,” Rodriguez said. “But my swing is going to be fine.”
Rodriguez said he doesn’t feel like he’s in a slump. He actually feels fine at the plate, and that’s the “kind of frustrating thing.” Maybe the time off took him out of his rhythm. Maybe he’s going through a normal two-week slide.
“He’s not swinging like he was earlier,” Girardi said. “Alex will talk about how he’s kind of disconnected and everything’s just not right with his swing. It seems like he’s leaving his legs at times. He’s not staying in his legs, and he’s getting out in front a little bit.”
Here’s Rodriguez postgame.
And here’s Yankees starter Freddy Garcia (more on him in a bit).
• Here’s Derek Jeter describing the hip injury that forced him out of tonight’s game: “It’s really not a problem. It’s not hurt. Seriously, it’s not that big of an issue. I played with it… I know I say it all the time, but it’s really not a big deal.”
• Although Girardi called him day-to-day, Jeter responded with a no-doubt-about-it “Yes” when asked if he expected to play tomorrow.
• Obviously we’re not watching the YES feed here in the Detroit press box, but apparently the camera’s showed some sort of argument/disagreement between Garcia and Francisco Cervelli after the Magglio Ordonez homer. Both Garcia and Cervelli said there was no argument whatsoever. “He never was upset,” Cervelli said. “I think it was maybe his body language, but he never was upset. He didn’t tell me anything bad. Maybe (he felt it) inside, but he never showed me like he was mad, or he never told me anything bad.”
• The pitch in question was an inside sinker that Ordonez hit for a two-out, two-run home run in the third. Garcia said he executed the pitch, but it was the wrong pitch to throw, and he knew it. He should have gone away in that situation. “That’s me,” Garcia said. “No reason to be mad at (Cervelli). I’m the one throwing the ball. If I don’t want to throw the pitch, I don’t throw that pitch. But we agreed to throw it and a bad thing happened.” By the way, moments after Garcia said that pitch was his fault, Cervelli also took responsibility, saying it was his fault for calling the pitch in the first place.
• By the way, it looked like Ordonez was looking fastball in that situation and cheating to catch up to it. “They’re always cheating,” Garcia said. “If you’re not cheating, you don’t try.”
• Asked what it was like to pitch to Cervelli, Garcia made everyone in the room laugh. “He’s a hyper guy,” Garcia said. “You have to talk to him and try to calm him down, try to stay on the same page.”
• Asked about the throw to second base that almost hit Garcia, Cervelli also had the room laughing. “I almost killed him, yeah,” Cervelli said. “Let me tell you that.”
• Max Scherzer was good tonight. His fastball had life and he was able to get outs with his changeup (and able to locate his offspeed stuff when he fell behind). Scherzer was good, but Rodriguez placed more blame than credit. “We need to be better offensively,” he said.
• Garcia took his second loss, but he actually pitched pretty well. He pitched into the eighth and didn’t allow a run after that home run in the third. “I’ve said all along that you need to pitch on a consistent basis because bats are going to come and go,” Girardi said. The bats have been gone for two nights now.
• This was the third time the Yankees were shutout this season, and they’ve now lost back-to-back games for the second time.
• I know he’s mostly pitched mopup duty, but Buddy Carlyle has pitched well since coming up from Triple-A. Luis Ayala has started a rehab assignment with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Carlyle might be pitching well enough to stick around when Ayala is ready to be activated.
• Trenton officially put lefty Steve Garrison on the disabled list. He’s the fourth Double-A starter to go on the DL this year. Brian Anderson also went on the Trenton disabled list while Josh Schmidt was sent down from Triple-A to help fill the void.
Associated Press photos