Today will be the day that the Yankees get their third baseman back. That’s Joe Girardi’s hope, anyway. He’s planning to put Alex Rodriguez in the lineup for tonight’s series opener in Toronto. If Rodriguez struggles in batting practice, then he’ll adjust accordingly, but for now Girardi’s planning to play A-Rod.
“I don’t want to mislead you guys,” Rodriguez said on Wednesday. “I haven’t touched a bat in five days. Maybe he has more confidence in me, but hopefully that kind of works out.”
The Yankees haven’t had a full-strength Rodriguez since mid-June when his knee began bothering him, leading to surgery and a stint on the disabled list. In his first game back from the knee injury, Rodriguez sprained the thumb and was once again a diminished player. He said his timing hasn’t been an issue, but it’s been a while since he was able to put any “ authority” into his swing.
“I think I was to the point that I had to stop because I wasn’t able to do my job,” he said. “To say it’s going to feel 100 percent, it’s not going to do that until next spring, but that’s fine… This time of the year, there’s not one guy in this clubhouse that is not playing with bumps and bruises. And that’s what I want to upgrade to.”
With the bullpen rested by an off day, Russell Martin returned from a bruised thumb and Nick Swisher back from elbow tendonitis, Rodriguez is the last significant piece the Yankees need to get back.
If he can return tonight, playing somewhere close to his expected production, Rodriguez will be a significant boost to a lineup that’s been inconsistent recently. He is almost certainly going to end his streak of consecutive 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons, but he’s hoping a strong finish will makeup for that.
“There’s no question that we’re in a franchise that, the most important month is October,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously with a good performance and the team attaining it’s goal, then I think everyone would agree that everything would be forgotten.”
Associated Press photos