It’s been obvious for three weeks that Alex Rodriguez hasn’t been 100 percent. He’s been getting his hits and getting on base, but his power has disappeared and he’s been hobbling on the bases. Yesterday, Joe Girardi decided Rodriguez could use a day off, and since he was taking a day off anyway, the Yankees sent their third baseman for an MRI.
They now know he has a slightly torn meniscus in his right knee. It’s an injury CC Sabathia pitched through last season, and an injury Rodriguez seems to have been playing through since tweaking his knee in Chicago last month. He’ll either have surgery or play through it, and Girardi said that whatever the Yankees decide, Rodriguez will be out of the lineup through the rest of the weekend.
“I just don’t think he has the drive in his back side that he needs to have to be the power hitter that he’s capable of being,” Girardi said. “I still think he can be productive and get his base hits, but I don’t think you’re going to see him drive the ball as much.”
Ultimately, the Yankees have to decide if they’re better with a lesser Rodriguez for a longer period of time, or a (potentially) better Rodriguez for a shorter period of time. Girardi said the decision ultimately lies with Rodriguez himself.
“Players have (played through) it before but you’re not ever sure how productive they’re going to be,” Girardi said. “And if you’re going to need to give him a day off here, it’s unpredictable. If he wants to try it, that’s something we’ll definitely discuss, but if he decides to have surgery, we’ll live with that too. It’s just, by giving you this information now, I can’t tell you exactly what is going to happen, and I don’t want to get to where I’m trying to predict. We have to discuss it, and Alex has to discuss it, and the player has to be comfortable in what he does. Then we’ll make a decision.”
Girardi said he hopes to have a decision by the end of the day, but it’s unlikely the team will announce anything until tomorrow.
• Right now, the Yankees are waiting for Nick Swisher to get through batting practice before they announce a lineup. If Swisher is healthy enough to play, he’ll be the designated hitter. If not, Jorge Posada will start at DH.
• Eduardo Nunez is the third baseman today.
• Girardi said it’s his understanding that Rodriguez cannot do any more damage to the knee by continuing to play through it. If the Yankees decide against surgery, Girardi said he doesn’t believe a DL stint will do any good. Time off won’t be enough to make a significant difference.
• Girardi also said he believes Rodriguez could be back playing in the big leagues a month after surgery.
• Eric Chavez’s back is bothering him again. “He’s having some back issues right now, so I can’t tell you when we’re going to get Chavy back or if we’re going to get Chavy back,” Girardi said. “You wonder if the back is related to the foot, walking different or trying to run different. Right now there’s no time table when he’ll be back.”
• The Yankees have Brandon Laird and Jorge Vazquez available in Triple-A. Laird’s been hitting much better lately, and Vazquez just returned from the DL and hit another home run two days ago. He has 21 in 69 games.
• Freddy Garcia is available out of the bullpen, but Girardi’s not sure what role he would play. “I could use Freddy out of the bullpen, but we really haven’t done that much,” Girardi said. “So we would have to see how we would do it.”
• No rotation set for after the all-star break.
UPDATE, 11:45 p.m.: No Swisher for the Yankees.
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Jorge Posada DH
Andruw Jones RF
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Brett Gardner LF
Johnny Damon DH
Ben Zobrist RF
Evan Longoria 3B
Casey Kotchman 1B
B.J. Upton CF
Matt Joyce LF
Sean Rodriguez 2B
John Jaso C
Reid Brignac SS
Associated Press photos