“Health had nothing to do with it,” he said.
Fair enough. The hip injury is in the past, the knee has been fixed and Rodriguez learned to deal with the sprained thumb, but less than a month ago, Rodriguez sat out a full week because of the thumb. A month before that, he was still on the disabled list because of the knee.
Being technically healthy now doesn’t mean this season’s nagging injuries didn’t play a role in his 2-for-18 division series. It’s surely no coincidence that he hit just .191 in the last two months of the regular season.
“Alex had injuries he obviously had to fight through,” Brian Cashman said. “He had surgery on the knee. He was tyring to do that on the run with the clock running out, so I’m sure it was a combination of health and trying to get his timing down. He gave the best effort he could. This guy’s a hard worker. He cares. He wants to be successful, and more times that not, he is. He’s hurting like the rest of us are here now. He’ll come back next year in great shape. When he’s healthy on an everyday bassis, he does perform, and he will perform again.”
The Yankees have little choice but to believe that’s true, that Rodriguez will perform again. He was healthy for the first two-plus months of the season and played more or less up to his usual standards.
What’s a reasonable expectation moving forward?
“I’d like to have a healthy year to think about that,” Rodriguez said. “When you have a knee surgery in the middle of the year, it messes everything up. Baseball is a game of repetition. It’s a game of 145 or 150 games and 600 at-bats. Obviously when you see guys like Curtis and Robbie and Tex and the tremendous years that they all had, you need at-bats. Baseballs a game that you can’t just turn off the switch and turn it on.”
Associated Press photo